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The highest paid athletes in the world

The highest paid athletes in the world

Soccer star Lionel Messi leads the super-rich club that has collectively raised more than $990 million over the past 12 months.

Lionel Messi was only 17 years old when he made his debut for his first professional team, FC Barcelona. So it was more than a slight shock when, after 17 seasons, he left his only professional home he had ever known and joined Paris Saint-Germain last August.

Financially, this season has been a return to familiar territory for the 34-year-old soccer star. With pre-tax gross earnings of $130 million in the subsequent 12 months, Messi tops Forbes’ annual list of the world’s highest-paid athletes for the second time (the first time was in 2019). While Forbes estimates Messi’s salary has fallen by $22 million from last year at FC Barcelona to $75 million this season at Paris Saint-Germain, massive advertising revenue has helped mixed martial arts fighter Conor McGregor to his second place finish.

Messi’s arch-rival Cristiano Ronaldo, who also joined Manchester United in August 2021 (from Juventus Turin), is third this year with $115 million. In between, Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James earned $121.2 million, breaking last year’s record of $96.5 million for an NBA player. James is the tenth athlete to surpass $100 million in one year – a milestone that Messi and Ronaldo have reached five times.

According to Forbes estimates, the top ten highest-paid athletes in the world earned $992 million over the past 12 months. That’s a 6% drop from 2021, but that drop is directly related to McGregor who hit $180 million last year after earning an estimated $150 million selling his Irish whiskey brand Proper No. Twelve have abdicated. McGregor has fallen out of the top ten on the current list, but ranked 35th overall in 2022 with $43 million. This year’s total is the third-highest on record, behind $1.05 billion from 2021 and $1.06 billion in 2018, When McGregor consolidated the score. Once again with his light-hearted fight against Floyd Mayweather.

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The dead giveaway that top sports stars are doing better than ever is that the top ten entry mark this year is $80.9 million. That’s an 8% increase over 2021’s $75 million – a 24% increase from 2019’s $65.4 million, and its peak before 2021 On the field, the top 10 athletes earned an estimated $500 million in endorsements appearances, souvenirs, and royalties, as well as from the profits of the companies they run and from the sale of stock packages. who – which
It is almost the same as last year’s record of $512 million.

The addition of cryptocurrency and NFT platforms to the sports marketing equation helped offset McGregor’s big payday loss last year: in March, for example, Messi signed a $20 million-a-year deal with Socios, a Blockchain-based app for fan activity.

Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors and Tom Brady of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have teamed up with crypto exchange, FTX, while LeBron James and Kevin Durant of Brooklyn Nets have teamed up with competitors and Coinbase, respectively. Lots of money.

Text: Brett Knight, Justin Birnbaum, Matt Craig
Illustration: Matt Chase