Sports are one of the biggest entertainments in the world. The biggest sports stars around the world are making more money from salaries, endorsements deals, bonuses etc. And the Top 10 highest paid athletes in the world came from across the spectrum of three (3) Football players, three (2) NBA players, one (1) Tennis player, one (1) Boxing player, one (1) Ultimate Fighting Championship player (UFC), and two (2) National Football League players (NFL). That made the list of top 10 highest paid athletes in the world 2018.
Boxer Floyd Mayweather leads the way for the fourth time in seven years. His fight with Conor McGregor generated 4.3 million pay-per-view buys. The 2018 top 10 highest paid athletes earnings cover their salaries, bonuses, prize money, endorsements, licensing and appearances fees as of June 1, 2017, through June 1, 2018. Below are the lists of the top 10 highest paid athletes in the world 2018.
Top 10 Highest Paid Athletes in the world 2018
- Floyd Mayweather (Athlete, Boxing) $285 Million
Money Mayweather ranks as the world’s highest-paid athlete for the fourth time in seven years. It only took 36 minutes in the ring against Conor McGregor for Mayweather to earn $275 million (he added $10 million more outside the ring). The fight, pitting the biggest stars in boxing and UFC, generated 4.3 million pay-per-view buys and more than $550 million in total revenue from all sources. The fight between Floyd Mayweather and McGregor pushed Mayweather’s career earnings to $1 billion, joining Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods as the only athletes to reach 10-figures in earnings.
- Lionel Messi ( Athlele, Soccer) $111 Million
Messi finished the 2017-18 seasons as the top scoring player in the Top 5 European Leagues with 45 goals in all competitions. In November 2017, he agreed to a contract extension with Barcelona that will keep him with the club through 2020-21 and pay him an annual salary and bonus in excess of $80 million, making him the highest-paid footballer in the world. He is currently the second highest paid athletes in the world. Messi endorsements deals include Adidas, Gatorade, Pepsi, Ooredoo, Huawei, and Hawkers.
- Cristiano Ronaldo ( Athlete, Soccer) $108 Million
Ronaldo scored 44 goals in 43 matches in all competition this past season and added a fifth Ballon d’Or, given to the world’s best player, and his fifth Champions League title to his trophy shelf. His current contract with Real Madrid is set to pay him over $50 million for the next three years through his 36th birthday. His lifetime Nike contract is worth upward of $1 billion. His lifetime Nike contract is worth upward of $1 billion. CR7 is the third highest paid athletes in the world. His other endorsement deals include Herbalife, EA Sports, and American Tourister, along with a growing line of CR7 branded products including shoes, underwear, fragrance, jeans, a children’s line (for which he models with his son).
- Conor McGregor (Athlete, UFC) $99 Million
The UFC’s biggest star has not stepped foot in the Octagon professionally since November 2016, but Conor McGregor scored his biggest payday to date thanks to a 2017 boxing match with Floyd Mayweather. McGregor banked an estimated $85 million for the fight, more than five times his previous top paycheck. The fight had 4.3 million PPV buys and generated more than $550 million in revenue. The Irishman signed a slew of deals over the past 12 months with the buzz around the Mayweather fight.
5.Neymar (Athlete, Soccer) $90 Million
In August 2017, the Brazilian superstar signed a five-year contract with Paris Saint-Germain worth a total cash outlay of more than $600 million. Of that, $250 million was paid to his former club Barcelona to release him from his contract there. The remaining $350 million will be paid in salary through his playing contract that lasts until June 2022. His current partners are Burger King, Beats by Dre, Monster Energy, David August, BSN, Anheuser-Busch, HiSmile, and Betsafe. The 26-year old works off the pitch with global sponsors Nike, Red Bull, Gillette, McDonalds and Beats by Dre.
- LeBron James (Athlete, NBA) $85.5 Million
The NBA’s four-time MVP has made it to the NBA Finals eight straight years and nine times overall. During the most recent season, he broke Michael Jordan’s long-standing record of consecutive games with double-digit points and became the youngest player to reach 30,000 career points. He has the NBA’s top endorsement portfolio with Nike, Coca-Cola (Sprite), Beats By Dre, Nike, Kia Motor, Intel and Blaze Pizza.
- Roger Federer ( Athlete, Tennis) $77.2 Million
The greatest men’s tennis player of all time added two more majors to his tally, bringing his record total to 20. He returned to the No. 1 world ranking briefly in 2018, becoming the oldest by more than three years to reach the ATP top ranking. Federer has won $116 million in prize money in his career, but the total is dwarfed by his off-court earnings from appearances and endorsements. His partners include Wilson, Credit Suisse, Mercedes, Rolex, Lindt, Jura, Moet & Chandon, Sunrise, and NetJets.
- Stephen Curry (Athlete, NBA) $76.9 Million
The two-time MVP signed the NBA’s first $200 million contracts last summer. The five-year deal guarantees $201 million from the Warriors. Curry’s salary nearly tripled this past season and was tops in the NBA for the first time. His endorsement partners include Under Armour, Chase, Vivo, eHi, Nissan/Infiniti, Brita, Bubble and JBL and generate an estimated $42 million in off-court income for Curry.
- Matt Ryan (Athlete, NFL) $67.3 Million
Ryan became the NFL’s first $30 million-per-year player in May when the Falcons locked up their franchise quarterback through 2023. The deal set new records for average salary ($30 million), total value ($150 million), guaranteed money ($100 million) and signing bonus ($46.5 million, with half deferred to April 2019). Ryan won the 2016 NFL MVP while leading the league in passing and getting the Falcons to the Super Bowl. The MVP and Super Bowl raised his marketing profile. His robust endorsement profile includes big brands like Nike, Gatorade, Delta Airlines, IBM, Mercedes Benz and the Banana Republic.
- Mathew Stafford (Athlete, NFL) $59.5 Million
Stafford signed the richest contract in NFL history last summer (since exceeded by Jimmy Garoppolo and Matt Ryan). The five-year deal is worth $135 million with $60.5 million guaranteed. The $50 million signing bonus included $34 million at the time of signing in August 2017 and $16 million at the start of 2018. Stafford was the #1 overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft and a Pro Bowler in 2014. He led the NFC in passing yards and set an NFL record as the fastest to 3,000 completions for his career (125 games). Stafford endorses Nike, PepsiCo, Fanatics, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Ford Motor, Panini, and St. Joe’s Hospital.
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