It is no secret that professional athletes, especially those who are at the pinnacle of their respective sports, make a lot of money. I mean A LOT of money. Forget making $10 million. Forget making $20 million. Forget making $30 million. In order to be one of the 10 highest paid athletes in the world this year, you needed to make a minimum $46 million. Sooo which athletes on the planet make the most money? The names on this list shouldn't be a surprise to anyone who pays attention to sports and the general marketing world.
10. Lewis Hamilton– $46 million
The three-time Formula One World Champion lands at the tenth spot on the list, earning a total of $46 million with $38 million of those dollars come from his salary/bonuses, and $8 million comes from endorsement deals with companies such as IWC, Monster Energy, L'Oreal, Bose, Puma, and more.
9. James Harden– $46.6 million
The Houston Rockets guard had a scintillating season on and off the court. He earned every penny of his $26.6 million salary from the Rockets, putting up MVP-caliber numbers in the regular season. He also earned $20 million from endorsements, the biggest of which is Adidas. He also has deals with Beats, Foot Locker, NBA 2K, and other companies.
8. Stephen Curry– $47.3 million
This time next year, Curry will likely be higher up on this list. The reason why? The two-time MVP has one of the most team-friendly deals in all of professional sports, earning just $12.3 million in salary from the Golden State Warriors this year (less than half of his teammate Kevin Durant's salary). Curry will be a free agent next month and is in line to sign a mega-deal with the Warriors that could pay him over $200 million over the next 5 years. But as for this year, Curry made a boatload of money from endorsements ($35 million), the most notable endorser being Under Armour.
6. Andrew Luck (Tie)- $50 million
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck signed a five-year, $123 million contract prior to the start of the 2016 season, making him the highest paid player in the league based on both average salary ($24.6 million) and guaranteed money ($87 million). The deal included a $12 million signing bonus, which brought his total earnings from salary and bonuses from this past year to $47 million. Luck also earned $3 million from endorsements from companies such as Nike, TD Ameritrade, and DirecTV.
6. Rory McIlroy (Tie)- $50 million
The 28-year-old golfer earned $16 million in prize money on the PGA tour, including the $10 million bonus he won by capturing the FedEx Cup. McIlroy earned $34 million off the course by way of endorsement deals with Nike and Taylor Made, among others.
5. Kevin Durant– $60.6 million
Last July, Kevin Durant decided to leave Oklahoma City and join the Golden State Warriors, signing a 2-year deal that paid him $26.6 million this season. Off the court, KD earned $34 million from endorsement deals with Nike, BBVA, American Family Insurance, and other companies. He has also invested in a variety of companies, including the Player's Tribune, Acorns, JetSmarter, and Postmates.
4. Roger Federer– $64 million
Federer without a doubt has the biggest disparity of any athlete on this list as it pertains to money made on the court versus off the court. Despite earning $104 million in prize money over the course of his career, the Swiss tennis star earned just $6 million playing tennis this past year. In contrast, he earned a whopping $58 million through endorsements with companies such as Nike, Wilson, Rolex, Mercedes-Benz, Credit Suisse and Moët & Chandon.
3. Lionel Messi– $80 million
The Barcelona star earned $53 million through salary and bonuses, scoring a La Liga leading 53 goals in the process (that's $1 million per goal). Messi also cashed in on $27 million worth of endorsements. About half of that comes from Adidas, who he renewed a lifetime deal with back in December.
2. LeBron James– $86.2 million
LeBron signed a new 3 year $100 million deal prior to the start of this season that made him just the third player in NBA history to earn north of $30 million in a season ($31.2 million to be exact). The four-time league MVP is unsurprisingly a cash cow off the court earning $55 million in endorsement money from companies like Nike, Coca-Cola, Beats, Kia, Intel, and Verizon.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo– $93 million
For the second year in a row, the Real Madrid superstar is the highest-paid athlete in the world. Ronaldo earned $58 million in salary/bonuses from his La Liga side as a result of signing a contract extension with the club that will pay him over $50 million over the course of the next four years. He also earned $35 million in endorsement money, most notably from Nike. He signed a lifetime deal with the Oregon-based shoe company that is worth upwards of $1 billion.