It’s no secret that sports payswell especially if you are one of the best players in the world. The numbers actually don’t lie as we’ll see in the list below highlighting the top 5 best paid athletes in the world and the millions of dollars they raked in in 2017 from both salaries and endorsements from big brands.
#1 Cristiano Ronaldo at $93 million
At the top of the list of best paid athletes is 33-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo for the second year in a row. 2017 was a good year for the Real Madrid striker as he was named by FIFA as the best player in the world for the fourth time in his career. He also led his club to their second successive Champions league trophy as well as the Spanish La Liga title, and also signed a number of endorsement deals with various sponsorship brands. All these contributed to the revenue he earned throughout the year.
#2 LeBron James at $86.2 million
Second on the list is 33-year-old basketball super star LeBron James who in 2016 led the Cleveland Cavaliers to their first NBA title in history. In the 2016-17 season, he became only the 3rd player in basketball history to earn over $30 million in salary in a calendar year. LeBron who is a four time MVP has also earned a number of endorsements from major brands and this has contributed hugely to his earnings.
#3 Lionel Messi at $80 million
Third on the list is 30-year-old Lionel Messi who has broken football goal scoring records while turning out for his club Barcelona. In 2017 he managed to turn in 53 goals in 52 appearances as well as 16 assists as he led his club to second place in the Spanish La Liga and also claimed second spot as FIFA best player in the world. Messi enjoys numerous sponsorship deals worth millions of dollars which have contributed to his high earnings in 2017.
#4 Roger Federer at $64 million
Fourth on the list is 36-year-old tennis star Roger Federer who was sidelined for a better part of 2016 due to injury but recovered in 2017 to win a couple of major tournaments such as the Australian Open which was his 18th career Grand Slam trophy, as well as the Indian Wells and Miami ATP titles. Most of Federer’s income however was earned off court from his sponsorship relationships with various big money brands.
#5 Kevin Durant at $60 million
Fifth on the list is 29-year-old Kevin Durant who helped the Golden State Warriors recapture their NBA title in the 2016-17 season from the Cleveland Cavaliers in just his first season with the team. Durant has a number of big money endorsements with major sports brands and this helped raise his income in 2017.
From this top 5 list, you can deduce that no one particular sport has an advantage over another but we can comfortably conclude that football and basketball are among the sports attracting more revenue for their stars.