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News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. June 11, 2021: Recent research published by showcases an estimated congregation of the world’s highest paid athletes, which, combined, earned a whopping $4.2 billion in 2021.

The list includes male and female athletes from 10 sports, which we will cover in this article. Here are 10 athletes, one in each sport, showing their earnings, how they made their money and also contrasting this year’s earnings to that of previous years, to see how sports leagues’ earnings have evolved.

Second on the list is Latin American sports tar Lionel Messi, with a very impressive $126 million, which would have placed him as #1 if it were not for Conor McGregor selling his whiskey brand “Proper 12.”

Please note, that individual athletes’ earnings does not indicate how much money is made by a specific sport, in relation to others; just because Conor McGregor earns the title of the highest-paid athlete doesn’t mean the MMA makes more money than the NFL.

  1. As mentioned, Conor McGregor tops this year’s list, with total earnings of $208 million, with $28 million coming from direct salaries and winnings, and the rest, $180 million, from endorsements and other sources, mainly the sale of his Irish whiskey company.
  2. Lionel Messi comes second on the list, and is the highest-paid footballer, earning $126 million, of which $91 million comes from salaries and winnings – a much bigger proportion of his total earnings comes from actual sports-related sources, such as football contracts and tournament winnings, than McGregor.
  3. Dak Prescott comes in fourth on the list and is the highest-paid American football player. His $108.4 million in earnings comes from a large $97.4 million payday comprising of salaries and winnings, which due to him securing a four-year, $160 million contract, of which $66 million was given as a very lucrative sign-on bonus.
  4. LeBron James is fifth on the list and is featured as the highest-paid athlete in Basketball, managing to break the $100 million mark, by earning $101.8 million, of which $70 million comes from endorsements and sources, other than salaries and winnings.
  5. Roger Federer is the highest-paid tennis player, earning $84 million, of which just $46,000 came from salaries and winnings. Even with the entirety of his income coming from sources other than direct sports games-related sources, Federer finishes 7th on the top 100 list.
  6. Lewis Hamilton places 11th on the list, earning $64 million in total, with $50 million coming from salaries and winnings.
  7. Canelo Alvarez of Boxing finishes right after Hamilton, placing 12th on the top 100 list, earning $63 million, of which $61 million came from salaries and winnings. The pay-per-view king is the lone Boxer on this list.
  8. Tiger Woods places 13th, earning $62.2 million in total, of which $62 million came from endorsements and other sources, such as public appearances – but who doesn’t know his name? This goes to show you how important it can be to be an incredibly marketable sportsperson.
  9. Francisco Lindor from Baseball, places 39th on the list, earning $36.6 million in total.
  10. Virat Kohli comes in 59th and is the highest-paid cricket player in the world, earning $31.5 million. It is said that he has made an estimated $28 million from his 24 endorsement and advertising partners, such as Puma, which, alongside his newly gained 120 million followers, showcases his potential for future endorsement deals and higher earnings.

In conclusion, athletes vary in the ways in which they make money. Some are incredibly marketable sportspeople, and help big sports brand reach more consumers, while others land insane contracts and simply win tournaments by being the best of the best in their respective sports. Out of the 100 sportspeople featured, however, only two are women, both in Tennis.

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