In 2021 alone, the world’s 10 highest-paid athletes earned more than $1 billion. If we look at the top 50 highest-paid athletes in 2021, the figure rises to $2.8 billion. This is what emerges from the data published by Forbes, which every year analyses not only the richest businessmen and women in the world, but also the richest athletes. In today’s article we will first look at the data of the 10 highest paid athletes in the world from 1990 to 2021. We will then go on to analyse the data more broadly. The World’s Highest Paid Athletes – 1990/2021
The World’s Highest Paid Athletes – 1990/2021
The Conor McGregor figure is particularly interesting. In addition to being 50 million dollars behind the second in the ranking, Lionel Messi, almost 80% of his income comes from endorsements and not from Salary. The Argentinean player Messi – recently transferred to PSG – has a different story: Messi has an income of 130 million dollars of which 97 million come from Salary and 33 million from Endorsements. Not far from this figure, in third position, we find Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese player, recently returned to play for Manchester United, has an income of 120 million euros. In the first 3 positions, 2 players are part of European soccer. Among the 10 positions of athletes worldwide, however, we find several disciplines. Soccer but also mixed martial arts, American football, basketball, tennis, formula 1. To give an example in the first 10 positions there are champions of the caliber of Roger Federer who in 2021 is expected to earn about 90 million dollars. In eighth position there is Lewis Hamilton who is fighting with Verstappen for a new victory in the Formula 1 world championship. Closing the top 10 positions is NBA player Kevin Durant with $75 million to be cashed in 2021
The World’s 10 Highest-Paid Athletes
But 31 years ago, in 1990, who were the ten highest paid athletes in the world? And what was the economic income of these athletes compared to today? In 1990 the highest paid athlete in the world was Mike Tyson. With 28 million and 600 thousand dollars Tyson in 1990 was at the top of the Forbes list followed by two other Boxing athletes. In second place was infatit Buster Douglas with 26 million and in third place Sugar Ray Leonard. This top trio was followed by two Formula 1 drivers. Ayrton Senna, with 10 million and Alain Prost with 9 million. From sixth to eighth place there were Golf players including Jack Nicklaus, in ninth place another Golf athlete and closing the ranking was Micheal Jordan in the NBA with 8 million 100 thousand dollars. Net of the changes that have taken place and inflation it is interesting to note two things. McCgregor over $129 million more than Tyson in 1990. Kevin Durant, who is in 10th place in 2021, makes almost 10 times more than Micheal Jordan who was in 10th place in 1990. Another interesting fact is how in 1990 only 4 sports were in the top 10 highest paid athletes in the world. In 2021 these are 6. In fact there are soccer and tennis (and no longer golf).
Forbes’ list of the world’s highest-paid athletes (2021)
We saw above the data of the 10 highest paid athletes in the world from 1990 to 2021. But what are the 50 highest paid athletes in the world, according to Forbes, in 2021? In the chart below you can see the data. Both for total and for Salary and Endorsements. The chart is also useful because you can put the different parameters in columns. If for example we want to analyze which are the athletes in the world that earn more thanks to their salary, in first position we find Dak Prescott. With a figure of 97.5 million dollars Prescott is 0.5 million dollars ahead of Messi. In third position we find another PSG player, Neymar. The Brazilian player has a total income of 95 million dollars of which 76 million dollars thanks to the salary .One last figure that certainly makes you think. The first female athlete in the world is Naomi Osaka. With a total of 60 million in revenue the Japanese tennis player ranks 12th. Of these, 5 come from Salary and $55 million from Endorsements. It will be interesting to know if in the coming years this ranking will be tinged more and more pink or if the obvious differences of today will remain.
Highest Paid Female Athletes 2021
We have seen how in the top 50 of the world’s highest paid athletes there are only two female athletes. The first is Naomi Osaka, with $60 million and in 12th position. The second is Serena Williams with $41.5 million (28th position). Taking the data from Sportico, it is possible to get a better idea of which are the 10 highest paid female athletes in the world. Sportico’s data is slightly different from Forbes’. Na in the first two positions we still find Osaka and Williams.
The third highest paid athlete in the world is Simone Biles who, however, has an income of 6 million. A decidedly “low” figure compared to the data of men. In fact Biles, third among women, is actually over one thousandth if we consider the overall ranking. To give another interesting example, Inbee Park, a female golfer, will earn about $3.7 million in 2021. She is in tenth position among the athletes who earn the most in the world but earns over 10 times less than Kevin Durant who is in tenth position among the athletes who earn the most.
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