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Richest Active Athletes In The World: Updated For 2022

We all know that athletes earn a lot of money from their contracts, sponsorships, and endorsement deals. But have you ever wondered who the richest athletes in the world are?

Before we talk about the richest athletes globally, we will discuss how they get their riches aside from playing professionally. This will give you an idea of how they earn their money, and after that, you will know who the richest athletes are in all six continents. Keep on reading!

How Athletes Earn Money

Athletes can earn money in various ways, the most common being through their salaries, endorsement deals, and winnings.

Salaries

The richest athletes in the world are typically those who have been in their respective sports for many years and have built up a large following. As they become more established and popular, they will earn more money from endorsements and winnings. Most of their income will come from their salaries for those just starting their careers.

Different sports have different ways of getting paid in terms of their salaries. For one, in volleyball, the richest athletes are those who play in the AVL, which is the richest volleyball league in the world. The average salary in this league is $100,000 per year, with the top players earning much more than that.

In baseball, the richest athletes are those who play in Major League Baseball (MLB). The minimum salary in MLB is $500,000 per year, and the average salary is around $4 million per year. The richest baseball players are usually those who have been in the league for many years and have signed long-term contracts worth millions of dollars.

In basketball, the richest athletes are those who play in the NBA. The minimum salary in the NBA is $582,180 per year, and the average salary is around $7 million per year. The richest basketball players are usually those who have been in the league for many years and have signed long-term contracts worth millions of dollars.

The richest athletes in football are those who play in the NFL. The minimum salary in the NFL is $495,000 per year, and the average salary is around $2.7 million per year. The richest football players are usually those who have been in the league for many years and have signed long-term contracts worth millions of dollars.

Also, the more seasoned you are, the higher your salary cap gets. For example, a player with ten years of experience or more has a salary cap of $10 million in the NFL. So as you can see, the richest athletes in the world are usually those who have been in their respective sports for many years.

Endorsement Deals

Many athletes also earn money through endorsement deals with companies. These deals can be worth millions of dollars, and the athlete will get paid to endorse the company’s products or services.

The richest athletes in the world usually have multiple endorsement deals, and they can earn more money from these deals than they do from their salaries. For example, Tiger Woods has earned more than $1 billion from endorsement deals, and he is one of the richest of all the athletes in the world.

Manny Pacquiao, one of the richest athletes globally, has endorsement deals with companies such as Nike, Adidas, and Reebok. These deals are worth a lot, starting from millions of dollars, and they help increase the athlete’s earnings. Also, the logos decorating his shorts in every boxing match he has are from his different endorsements.

Winnings

Many athletes also earn money from winnings. For example, tennis players can earn millions of dollars in prize money if they win a Grand Slam tournament. Golfers can also earn a lot of money if they win a major tournament.

Athletes who compete in individual sports can also earn money from winnings. For example, figure skaters can earn prize money if they win a competition, and race car drivers can earn money if they finish first.

The richest athletes in the world usually have multiple sources of income. They earn a lot of money from their salaries, endorsement deals, and winnings.

Richest Active Athletes in the World

Now that we have talked about how athletes earn their money, let’s talk about the richest active athletes in the world. According to Forbes Magazine, this list is the latest as of May 2022. Thus, we won’t be mentioning retired athletes like Floyd Mayweather, Jr.

Connor McGregor

Connor McGregor

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Irish mixed martial artist Connor McGregor leads the pack, with an earning ratio of US$22 million when he’s in the ring. Off-ring, he earns an additional US$152 million in endorsement deals and other sources of income. He’s well-known for being one of the most controversial athletes globally, with a bold personality and a willingness to fight anyone.

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi

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Lionel Messi made history when he became the second athlete in the world to reach a billion dollars in career earnings. The Argentinian soccer player has played for Barcelona and is currently the captain. He’s widely considered one of the greatest soccer players of all time.

Messi has numerous endorsement deals, including Adidas, Gatorade, and Huawei. He also has a clothing line with his wife, Antonella. He earns US$97 million when he’s playing for Barcelona and earns an additional US$33 million off the field.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo

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The Portuguese football superstar was the first-ever athlete to reach the billion-dollar mark in career earnings. Currently, he earns US$120 million both on and off the football field. He has a lot of endorsement deals from different businesses, such as Nike, Herbalife, and Tag Heuer.

He has a huge social media following, with over 300 million followers on Instagram. He also has his line of clothing, CR7, and a line of underwear. He has a hotel in Portugal, and he plans to open more hotels in different countries.

Dak Prescott

Dak Prescott

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NFL football player Dak Prescott snags the fourth spot, earning a whopping US$107.5 million on and off-season. He’s the quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, one of the most popular teams in the NFL. He signed a four-year contract extension with the team in 2019, worth US$160 million.

In addition to his salary, Prescott also has endorsement deals with Adidas, Beats by Dre, and Nissan. He has recently been one of the most famous NFL players, with a large social media following.

LeBron James

LeBron James

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This list won’t be complete without NBA players, and LeBron James is the richest NBA player as of date, with a total of US$96.5 million in earnings both on the court and outside, thanks to his massive endorsement deals and his brand in itself. He has played for the Los Angeles Lakers since 2018, and he signed a four-year contract worth US$153.3 million.

James has endorsement deals with Nike, Coca-Cola, Beats by Dre, and Kia Motors outside of playing basketball. He also has his own production company, SpringHill Entertainment. He occasionally does appearances in movies and television shows.

Neymar

Neymar

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He’s the richest athlete that Brazil has produced, and the second richest athlete in South America, after Messi. Neymar earns a total of US$95 million, with US$75 million coming from his salary and winnings and the rest coming from his endorsement deals. He is currently the captain of the Brazilian national team, and he plays forward for the French club Paris Saint-Germain.

Off the field, he has major endorsement deals with brands such as Gilette, TCL, Red Bull, and Nissan. In 2019, he launched his cryptocurrency, the Neymar Coin.

Roger Federer

Roger Federer

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Earning a total of US$90 million from his salary and major endorsements on and off the season, Roger Federer is the richest tennis player in the world. He has 20 Grand Slam titles under his belt, which is a record in tennis. The Swiss-born athlete is currently ranked number three globally by the ATP.

Aside from playing tennis, Federer also has numerous endorsement deals, such as Rolex, Uniqlo, and Mercedes-Benz. He has his line of tennis shoes with Nike, and he has a clothing line with the Japanese company Mizuno. His social media following is also huge, with over 16 million followers on Twitter.

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton

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The British F1 racer takes home US$82 million in total, with most of it coming from his salary and winnings. He has won six world championships, tied for the second-most in F1 history. He is currently the reigning Formula One World Champion, and he has been racing since 2007.

In addition to his salary and winnings, such as with Reebok, Tommy Hilfiger, Puma, and IWC Schaffhausen, he is also an ambassador for many brands, such as Bombardier Recreational Products and L’Oreal.

Tom Brady

Tom Brady

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Gisele Bundchen’s husband, NFL superstar Tom Brady, earns US$76 million in total. He is currently the quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and he has played in the NFL for 20 years. He has won a total of seven Super Bowls, which is the most by any player in NFL history.

Brady has endorsement deals with Under Armour, Nike, and Tag Heuer outside of playing football. He has his line of fitness and lifestyle products called TB12. He also earns from posting on his Instagram account, which has over 18 million followers.

Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant

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Rounding off the list is Kevin Durant. He is currently playing for the Brooklyn Nets, and he has won two NBA championships. He earns a total of US$75 million, with most of it coming from his salary and winnings.

In addition to his salary, Durant also has several endorsement deals, such as with Nike, Beats by Dre, and UnitedHealth Group. He also has his business ventures, such as his investment in Postmates and his apparel brand, Thirty-Five Ventures. Kevin Durant also enjoys a steady social media following, with over 24 million followers on Instagram.