World’s top 10 highest-paid athletes

The ten highest-paid athletes in the world made more money during the coronavirus pandemic than the last top earners.

In total, they took home gross earnings of $1.05 billion during the past 12 months, 28 per cent more than last year’s top earners.  This year was also the first time that four athletes have topped over $100 million in earnings on Forbes’ list.

To compile their on-field earning figures, Forbes used a methodology that accounted for all prize money, salaries, and bonuses in a period spanning from May 1, 2020 to May 1, 2021. Meanwhile, off-field earnings were tabulated through an estimate of sponsorship deals, appearance fees, and licensing income in that same period, as well as cash returns from any business operated by the athlete. 

  1. Conor McGregor topped the list $180 million. While the majority of McGregor’s earnings came from the sale of his whiskey brand, he also earned $22 million in an appearance at UFC 257 in January.
Conor McGregor

2. Barcelona’s Lionel Messi was in second place with $130 million. According to the publication, Messi made $97 million dollars on the field, while his off field earning accumulated to $33 million.

3. Cristiano Ronaldo secured third place with $130 million. The 36-year-old, Juventus player’s contract is worth an average of $64 million annually and expires in 2022. He also has a lifetime deal with Nike and is behind the CR7 business of branded clothing, accessories, hotels and gyms. He earned $70 million on-field and another $50 million off-field.

4. Dallas Cowboy’s Dak Prescott earned $107.5 million over the past year. According to Forbes, the $66 million signing bonus that came with Dak Prescott’s four-year, $160 million contract extension pushes the Cowboys star into the $100 million club as he returns from an ankle injury.

Dak Prescott Reacts To The Cowboys' Week 1 Game
Dak Prescott (The Spun)

5. LeBron James rounded out the top five earning $96.5 million who had a NBA record earnings total after his fourth championship in October last year. The Los Angeles Lakers star earned $31.5 million on field while taking home $65 million off field.

The other top five highest paid athletes in the world are;

6. Neymar, Paris Saint-Germain: $95 million

Neymar Jr celebrates after scoring the fourth goal of his team during a match between Peru and Brazil on October 13, 2020 in Lima, Peru. (Photo: Paolo Aguilar-Pool/Getty Images)

7. Roger Federer, tennis: $90 million

8. Lewis Hamilton, F1: $82 million

9. Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: $76 million

10. Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets: $75 million