HIGHEST-PAID ATHLETES IN THE WORLD 2022 WITH THEIR EARNINGS ACCORDING TO FORBES: The Top 50 Sports Stars Combined To Make Nearly $3 Billion In A Year, Crushing The Record
LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry own thriving media companies in the world today. Serena Williams is behind a venture capital firm with a new $111 million fund. Naomi Osaka on the other hand has more than 20 corporate partners and is the founder of a skincare line. Tom Brady also added a massive partnership with cryptocurrency exchange FTX while launching Autograph, an NFT platform of his own.
Today’s sports stars are much more than athletes. They’re marketing gold for the world’s biggest brands and entrepreneurs themselves, at the highest levels making far more money off the field than on it.
The world’s 50 highest-paid athletes collected an astounding $2.97 billion before taxes and agents’ fees over the last 12 months, thereby smashing 2021 record total by 8%—more than $200 million. Endorsement deals and other off-the-field endeavors accounted for $1.06 billion of that total, beating the record $1.04 billion posted by last year’s group.
Soccer’s two biggest names took pay cuts as they switched clubs this season, but a boost from their sponsors keeps them at the front of the pack, with Paris Saint-Germain’s Lionel Messi landing at No. 1 for the second time with $130 million and Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo sliding in at No. 3 with $115 million. James, who broke the $100 million mark for the first time, splits the longtime rivals, finishing No. 2 with $121.2 million. Osaka, the Japanese tennis ace with a swarm of sponsors, takes the top spot on the women’s side with $59.2 million, coming in at No. 19 overall.
The list is filled with notable numbers, however, even at the bottom: The cutoff to make the top 50 rose from $34 million last year to $37.6 million, the highest threshold ever.
Below, see the world’s 50 highest-paid athletes. Information about the methodology Forbes used to compile the list, which captures income the athletes collected between May 1, 2021, and May 1, 2022, can be found here.
HIGHEST-PAID ATHLETES IN THE WORLD 2022 WITH THEIR EARNINGS
- Lionel Messi. Soccer. $130M. $75M. $55M.
- LeBron James. Basketball. $121.2M. $41.2M. $80M.
- Cristiano Ronaldo. Soccer. $115M. $60M. $55M.
- Neymar. Soccer. $95M. $70M. $25M.
- Stephen Curry. Basketball. $92.8M. $45.8M. …
- Kevin Durant. Basketball. $92.1M. $42.1M. …
- Roger Federer. Tennis. $90.7M. $700K. …
- Canelo Alvarez. Boxing. $90M. $85M.
- Tom Brady