The 100 highest paid athletes earned a combined $3.6 billion this year, which is 9% below 2019 and the first decline since 2016, when boxers Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao skewed the results with a $400 million payout from their May 2015 “Fight of the Century” pay-per-view bout, writes Kurt Badenhausen of Forbes.
According to Kurt, top-earning athletes dropped for the first time in four years of Forbes ranking as the coronavirus wreaked havoc on sports and canceled or postponed many marquee events for the first time since World War II.
In the recent publication, Forbes lists Roger Federer as the number one top earner for the first time, with $106 million of pre-tax earnings, edging past Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, who have dropped from the No. 1 spot as the highest paid athletes in three row for the past four years.
The two soccer stars earned a combined $209 million during the past 12 months, which according to Forbes is a $28 million drop from 2019, due to salary reductions at many European soccer clubs when league play was halted in March.
Federer, who has the best endorsement portfolio in sports, with Uniqlo, Credit Suisse and Mercedes-Benz and 10 other partners, is just the ninth athlete to have landed in the top spot since 1990.
Ronaldo earned $45 million from Nike, Altice, Herbalife and his own CR7 brand, while Messi pulled in $32 million from Adidas, MasterCard and PepsiCo.
Neymar and LeBron James follows as the fourth and fifth highest paid athletes in the world.
Neymar who is on a five-year contract with Paris Saint-Germain through June 2022 with $350 million worth in salary is the No. 4 on the List with Net worth of $95.5 million.
His transfer from Barcelona to PSG stands as the most expensive in the world at $263 million. Neymar stands as the second most popular athlete on social media with a combined 244 million followers on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Nike signed Neymar as its first soccer ambassador in 2016 and in March 2020 its film unit released a movie about his life.
LeBron James, Four time NBA MVP who joined the Los Angeles Lakers in 2018 under a four-year contract of $153 million, is worth $88.2 million bringing to the fifth richest athlete.
He has the NBA’s top endorsement portfolio, as well as his own production company (SpringHill Entertainment) and media company (Uninterrupted).
Sitting on the No. 6 position is Stephen Curry, a two-time MVP who signed the NBA’s first $200 million contract in 2017; and he has had the league’s top salary the past three seasons. He’s worth $74.4 million.
The avid golfer inked an endorsement deal with Callaway in 2019 that included a seven-figure donation to launch a golf program at Howard University. Also, in 2017, Stephen formed a new company, SC30, which manages his investments, brand partnerships and philanthropic ventures.
Kevin Durant is the No. 7 on the list of richest athletes in the world released by Forbes. He has a total net worth of $63.9 million.
Kevin played with the Golden State Warriors for about three years before he joined the Brooklyn Nets in 2019 under a four-year, $164 million contract.
He has over 800,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel and his media company has deals with ESPN, Apple, Showtime and Fox.
Tiger Woods nabbed his first PGA Tour win in five years at the 2018 Tour Championship and added a fifth green jacket at the 2019 Masters. He ranked top 8 in the list with net worth of $62.3 million.
Since he turned pro in 1996, Woods has earned $1.5 billion from endorsements, appearances and course design fees. His latest project, Payne’s Valley, is set to open in 2020 in Missouri and will be the first public golf course he designed.
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