Forbes’ 2017 look at the world’s highest-paid athletes featured three of the biggest sports stars on the planet at the top in Cristiano Ronaldo, LeBron James and Lionel Messi. The trio banked a combined $259 million for long seasons of work on the pitch and court, as well as their endorsement partnerships.
One night is all it took for Floyd Mayweather to exceed their combined total.
Money Mayweather came out of retirement, seemingly willed a fight to happen with Conor McGregor via social media and then produced the biggest single payday in the history of sports, with his cut of the fight worth $275 million.
Mayweather tops Forbes’ annual list of the world’s highest-paid athletes for the fourth time in seven years at $285 million, including $10 million from endorsements, appearances and memorabilia.
There are 23 different countries represented in the top 100. Americans leads the race with 65 athletes thanks to the astronomical salaries in the major U.S. sports leagues.
The U.K. has five athletes, led by F1’s Lewis Hamilton ($51 million) in 12th.
The Dominican Republic and Spain have three athletes each, while Argentina, Brazil, France, Japan and Venezuela all have two.
There are no women in the list this time around. Serena Williams was the only female last year but was nowhere to be found this year due to her pregnancy and giving to birth to her daughter, Alexis.
The top 10 athletes
- Floyd Mayweather – boxing ($285m)
- Lionel Messi – football ($111m)
- Cristiano Ronaldo – football ($108m)
- Conor McGregor – mixed martial arts ($99m)
- Neymar – football ($90m)
- LeBron James – basketball ($85,5m)
- Roger Federer – tennis ($77.2m)
- Stephen Curry – basketball ($76.9m)
- Matt Ryan – American football ($67.3m)
- Matthew Stafford – American football ($59.5m)