Ballpark Figure: The 10 Highest-Paid Athletes Active Today - Lifestyle Asia

These sports personalities went for the gold.

Athletes are setting records not just in competitive sports, but in the bank, too.

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In fact, the top 50 sports stars collectively made nearly $2.8 billion in what has been described as a “year of records.”

The 2021 Highest-Paid Athletes list by Forbes is the most exclusive thus far with a record four athletes surpassing $100 million in total earnings and an all-time high of $34 million as the cutoff to just make the ranking.

This bodes well overall for the sports industry, which is rebounding from the COVID-19 crisis.

Fortunately, the global sports market was valued at $388.28 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach $599.9 billion in 2025 at a compound annual growth rate of 8 percent, according to the Sports Global Market Report 2021.

“The growth is mainly due to the companies rearranging their operations and recovering from the COVID-19 impact, which had earlier led to restrictive containment measures involving social distancing, remote working, and the closure of commercial activities that resulted in operational challenges,” read the report.

Moreover, consulting firm McKinsey & Company said “the new normal is here” for sporting goods in 2022. Acknowledging that although the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect business worldwide, the industry has returned to pre-pandemic growth levels.

Here are the 10 top-paid active athletes earning millions on and off the field.

Conor McGregor

Sport: Mixed Martial Arts

Total Earnings: $180 million

On-The-Field Earnings: $22 million

Off-The-Field Earnings: $158 million

McGregor made $150 million alone from selling his majority stake in whiskey brand Proper No. Twelve. However, he’s been found to have the highest earnings per minute of competition at $8.69 million, or $1 million every 7 seconds.

Lionel Messi

Sport: Football

Total Earnings: $130 million

On-The-Field Earnings: $97 million

Off-The-Field Earnings: $33 million

Messi’s total earnings are a record for a football player. This comes as no surprise based on his leaked contract with FC Barcelona showing that he was to be paid 555 million euros (over $600 million) in four seasons.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Sport: Football

Total Earnings: $120 million

On-The-Field Earnings: $70 million

Off-The-Field Earnings: $50 million

In February 2021, Ronaldo became the first person to reach 500 million followers across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. His fame is matched only by his wealth, supported by a four-year contract with an average $64 million annually and a lifetime deal with Nike worth $1 billion.

Dak Prescott

Sport: American Football

Total Earnings: $107.5 million

On-The-Field Earnings: $97.5 million

Off-The-Field Earnings: $10 million

The Dallas Cowboys star received a $66-million signing bonus alongside his $160-million contract extension with the world’s most valuable sports team.

LeBron James

Sport: Basketball

Total Earnings: $96.5 million

On-The-Field Earnings: $31.5 million

Off-The-Field Earnings: $65 million

The Los Angeles Laker star’s total earnings is a record for an NBA player. James can thank a new endorsement deal with PepsiCo after leaving his partnership of nearly two decades with rival Coca-Cola.

Neymar

Sport: Football

Total Earnings: $95 million

On-The-Field Earnings: $76 million

Off-The-Field Earnings: $19 million

Neymar became the brand ambassador for Puma following his Nike/Jordan collaboration. More recently, he became the first professional athlete to be featured in battle royale game Fortnite.

Roger Federer

Sport: Tennis

Total Earnings: $90 million

On-The-Field Earnings: $30,000

Off-The-Field Earnings: $90 million

Due to his knee injury, Federer won only $35,060 in prize money and earned the remaining estimated $90 million in endorsements and appearances.

Lewis Hamilton

Sport: Auto Racing

Total Earnings: $82 million

On-The-Field Earnings: $70 million

Off-The-Field Earnings: $12 million

Hamilton raced to his sixth Formula 1 championship in seven seasons in 2020. With 11 wins in a previous season, he earned bonus payments on top of endorsement opportunities in different industries. 

Tom Brady

Sport: American Football

Total Earnings: $76 million

On-The-Field Earnings: $45 million

Off-The-Field Earnings: $31 million

Brady ran a touchdown in 2021, scoring his 7th Super Bowl title in what was also his most lucrative year so far.

Kevin Durant

Sport: Basketball

Total Earnings: $75 million

On-The-Field Earnings: $31 million

Off-The-Field Earnings: $44 million

With his very own media network Boardroom and venture capital firm Thirty Five Ventures, Durant makes big money behind the scenes through investments.

Photo by 3D Animation Production Company from Pixabay

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