According to Forbes, the 100 highest-paid sports stars earned a cumulative $3.11 billion over the past 12 months, down 1% from last year. But the threshold to make the list rose $600,000 to $21.4 million. The earnings figures include salaries, prize money and bonuses earned between June 1, 2016, and June 1, 2017. Athletes from 21 countries are represented among the top 100.
The Leader Of The Pack
Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo banked $93 mn over the past 12 months to retain the crown of the world’s highest-paid athlete for the second straight year.
Ronaldo earned $58 mn from Real Madrid in salary and bonuses, while sponsors kicked in another $35 mn.
Ronaldo has also inked a lifetime deal with Nike worth upward of $1 bn.
The Dunking Phenom
American basketball star LeBron James comes in at the second spot with $86.2 mn.
His $31 mn salary this sporting season made him just the third NBA player after Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant to earn $30 mn. The salary bump pushed his total earnings, including endorsements and playoff bonuses, to $86.2 mn.
The Swiss Maestro
Tennis star Roger Federer came fourth on the list with his earnings reaching $64 mn.
Federer was sidelined for the second half of 2016 recovering from a knee injury, but returned to the court with a flourish in 2017 by capturing the Australian Open over longtime rival Rafael Nadal.
Federer has won $104 million in prize money in his career, but the total is dwarfed by his off-court earnings from appearances and endorsements.
The Best In The Business
Argentine football sensation Lionel Messi ranked third on the list with his total earnings reaching $80mn.
Messi scored a La Liga-high, 53 goals and assisted on 16 more in 52 club appearances this past season.
In December he renewed a lifelong deal with Adidas. The German sportswear giant is responsible for half of Messi’s $27 million in endorsement income.
The top 100 athletes are a boys’ club more than ever.
Serena Williams who ranked No 51 on the list with her $27 mn, is the lone female athlete to make the cut this year.
Serena Williams won the Australian Open in January to set the Open-era record of 23 Grand Slam titles, one more than Steffi Graf.
Williams career prize of $84 million is nearly $50 million more than any other female tennis player.
See the full list here: Forbes