Sports took a hit when the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020. However, some of the top athletes still earned a lot of money by what they were able to do on and off the field. Forbes recently released its list of the world's highest-paid athletes and a number of factors played into determining which athletes earned the most money.
Brett Knight of Forbes wrote that they tracked down income collected between May 1 of last year and May 1 of this year " based on conversations with dozens of industry insiders." Forbes used on-the-field and off-the-field earnings to determine an athlete's income. On-the-field earnings include prize money, salaries and bonuses. Off-the-field earnings include "an estimate of sponsorship deals, appearance fees and licensing income for the 12 months" as well as "cash returns from any businesses operated by the athlete."
Some of the names that are among the 10 highest-paid athletes include LeBron James, Lionel Messi, and Conor McGregor. The highest-paid athlete earned a total of $180 million and more nearly all of that came from off-the-field earnings. Here's a look at the seven highest-paid athletes in the world for this year.
1. Conor McGregor - $180 Million
McGregor earned an estimated $22 million for his fight against Dustin Poirier in January. But what made him become the highest-paid athlete is selling his majority stake in his Proper No. Twelve to Proxio Spirits for $150 million in April.prevnext
2. Lionel Messi - $130 Million
Messi recently won FIFA's Player of Year award, and the contract showed that he was earning up to $165 million annually in salary and incentives. His contract is set to expire next month but is currently getting a new deal done.prevnext
3. Cristiano Ronaldo - $120 Million
Ronaldo is currently is under contract with Juventus and averaging $64 million per year. In his career, Ronaldo has earned $1 billion, becoming the first active team-sport athlete to reach that mark. In March, Ronaldo passed Pele's goal tally, and now has over 770 goals in all competitions.prevnext
4. Dak Prescott - $107.5 Million
Prescott signed a four-year $160 million contract extension with the Dallas Cowboys in March despite missing most of the 2020 season with an injury. The contract also came with a $66 million signing bonus, his $107.5 million total is a record for NFL players.prevnext
5. LeBron James - $96.5 Million
James signed with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2018 for $153 million. He also has a lot of off-the-field projects, including his own production company, media company, health and wellness company and The LeBron James Family Foundation.prevnext
6. Neymar - $95 Million
Neymar signed a contract extension with Paris Saint-Germain in May and will now be with the team for another four years. He transferred to PSG from Barcelona for $263 million. In 2020, Neymar signed a with Puma after leaving Nike's Jordan Brand.prevnext
7. Roger Federer - $90 million
Nearly all of Federer's earnings came from his off-the-field work. He has a deal with Uniqlo which is a 10-year, $300 million deal. He also has a stake in Swiss athletic company On, and his namesake foundation has raised more than $50 million.prev