6 highest-paid athletes all time

TODAY’S athletes are more than just sportsmen. They are commercial treasures for the world’s largest brands and entrepreneurs, making significantly more money off the field than on it at the highest levels.

Indeed, athletes have tons of chances to capitalise on their popularity, including high-paying contracts, endorsement deals, brand partnerships, and exclusive merchandise; nevertheless, not all players could maximise their career-earning potential.

It does require hard work, natural athletic talent, a positive career, good management, and perhaps a little bit of luck to be at the top of the brand itself.

However, some athletes are able to turn their brief careers into massive fortunes, allowing them to continue earning money after retiring.

By some people’s estimates, the following athletes have earned the most money throughout the history of sports.

Michael Jordan

Total earnings: $1.7 billion (RM7.54 billion)

Sport: NBA

Whether you’re a basketball fan or not, you’ve probably got a pair of Nike Jordan sneakers, or you’ve at least noticed the hype around these highly-recognized pairs of sneakers. Jordan, probably the greatest NBA player of all time, only earned more than US$4 million (RM17.75 million) per year twice during his decade-long career. Being the best NBA player helped Jordan earn money on the court, but he has amassed US$1.7 billion (RM7.54 billion) through his Jordan Brand clothing and footwear, endorsements, and other brands contract.

Tiger Woods

Total earnings: US$1.1 billion (RM4.88 billion)

Sport: Golf

Tiger Woods was the first athlete to surpass US$1 billion (RM4.44) in actual earnings, accomplishing this milestone in 2009. Tiger Woods has been able to earn US$1.1 billion (RM4.88 billion) despite the difficulties he has encountered in the later stages of his career, such as injuries and marriage problems, placing him in second place on our list. Woods’s bank account is still in good shape, owing to the $45 million (RM199.7 million) he’s earned from golf tournament victories and endorsement deals, appearances, course design fees, and other off-the-course endeavors.

Michael Schumacher

Total earnings: $1 billion (RM4.44 billion)

Sport: Formula One, racing

The German-born Formula One driver was probably one of the most dominant athletes in the history of all sports. After winning seven F1 championships, including five in a row while driving for Ferrari, Michael Schumacher became a true legend and amassed US$1 billion (RM4.44 billion) over the course of his career.

Schumacher won five consecutive World Championships with the Scuderia and was once the second-highest-paid athlete in the world. Euro business magazine declared him the first billionaire athlete in the world in 2005.

Floyd Mayweather

Total earnings: US$765 million (RM3.4 billion)

Sport: Boxing

His presence on this list comes as no surprise as Mayweather has made US$765 million (RM3.4 billion) in his career due to his undefeated record, endorsement deals, and matches against high-profile boxers such as Manny Pacquiao and also UFC superstar Connor McGregor.

Mayweather’s undefeated boxing record makes him a superstar and potentially one of the finest defensive boxers of all time. His pay-per-views have generated more than $1.67 billion in revenue (RM7.41 billion). Although he formally retired from the sport in 2017, he continues to live up to his moniker, “Money Mayweather.”

Lionel Messi

Total earnings: US$620 million (RM2.75 billion)

Sport: Football

Lionel Messi’s career wrapped up after he led Argentina to the 2022 FIFA World Cup for the first time in 36 years. Early in 2021, a leaked of his contract with Barcelona revealed that he could earn up to US$165 million (RM732.2 million) annually in salary and bonuses. It is believed that Messi has amassed roughly $600 million (RM2.66 billion) via contracts and endorsements over the course of his career. Forbes estimates that Messi’s revenues jumped by 20% following his World Cup victory.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Total earnings: US$490 million (RM2.17 billion)

Sport: Football

Cristiano Ronaldo’s painful departure from Manchester United does not appear to be affecting his money account. The Portuguese superstar is now joininig the Saudi club Al-Nassr FC in late December 2022, with a deal worth more than US$200 million (RM887 million) a year. While Ronaldo is just slightly less wealthy than his rival Lionel Messi, he has a staggering 531 million Instagram followers.