In 2022, the 10 highest-paid athletes benefited from a combination of talent, hard work, and personal branding. These top-earning athletes have all achieved success on the field or court, but they have also been able to capitalize on their success through endorsements and other business ventures. This highlights the importance of building a personal brand, which has helped them to secure lucrative endorsement deals. Additionally, they have also been able to negotiate high-paying contracts with their teams, which has helped to increase their overall earning potential.

Six of the highest-paid athletes are soccer players. Three are basketball players. And Roger Federer is the highest paid individual sport. Arguably, many of these highest-paid athletes are past their prime. Lebron has recently turned 39, Federer has since retired, and Ronaldo has recently seen less action on his club and country team. On the other hand, Mbappé shows up at #8 and he’s only 24. The soccer players have a huge social media following with Ronaldo leading the way with an incredible 500 million followers. 

Highest paid athlete

10 highest-paid athletes for 2022

The highest-paid athlete was basketball player LeBron James, who made $96 million. This includes $39 million in salary and winnings from the Los Angeles Lakers and $57 million from endorsements. Lebron is outspoken on Twitter with 50 million followers.

In second place was football player Cristiano Ronaldo, who made $90 million. This includes $60 million from salary and winnings from Juventus and $30 million from endorsements. He has a remarkable 507 million followers on Instagram. 

The third highest-paid athlete was football player Lionel Messi, who made $80 million. This includes $50 million from salary and winnings from Paris Saint-Germain and $30 million from endorsements. Messi has 422 million followers on social media. 

Fourth was tennis player Roger Federer, who made $77 million. This includes $7 million in salary and winnings and $70 million from endorsements.

Fifth was basketball player Kevin Durant, who made $75 million. This includes $40 million in salary and winnings from the Brooklyn Nets and $35 million from endorsements. KD is a regular on Twitter with 20 million followers. 

Six of the top 10 most highest-paid athletes are soccer players

Neymar Jr., who made $74 million is the sixth highest-paid athlete. This includes $60 million from salary and winnings from Paris Saint-Germain and $14 million from endorsements. He has 202 million followers on Instagram. 

Seventh was basketball player Stephen Curry, who made $74 million. This includes $43 million in salary and winnings from the Golden State Warriors and $31 million from endorsements.

Eighth was football player Kylian Mbappé, who made $68 million. This includes $25 million in salary and winnings from Paris Saint-Germain and $43 million from endorsements.

Ninth was football player Mohamed Salah, who made $62 million. This includes $22 million in salary and winnings from Liverpool and $40 million from endorsements.

The tenth highest-paid athlete was football player Paul Pogba, who made $60 million. This includes $28 million in salary and winnings from Manchester United and $32 million from endorsements. 

To illustrate, click on the diagram above. 

Breaking it down by the highest paid athlete by sport

National Football League 

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was the NFL’s highest-paid athlete in 2022, earning a total of $40 million in salary and endorsements. He was followed by quarterback Russell Wilson, who earned $35 million, and Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, who earned $34 million. Interesting, Lamar is up for a new contract. 

NBA

The highest-paid player was LeBron James, who earned a total of $96 million in salary and endorsements. He was followed by Kevin Durant, who earned $75 million, and Stephen Curry, who earned $74 million. All three are on the top 10 for highest-paid athlete.

Major league baseball 

Baseball’s highest-paid athlete was Mike Trout, who earned a total of $44 million in salary and endorsements. He was followed by Gerrit Cole, who earned $39 million, and Mookie Betts, who earned $35 million.

NHL

The highest-paid player was Connor McDavid, who earned a total of $22 million in salary and endorsements. He was followed by Auston Matthews, who earned $20 million, and Sidney Crosby, who earned $18 million.

Formula One

Lewis Hamilton was the highest-paid driver in 2022, earning a total of $50 million in salary and endorsements. He was followed by Max Verstappen, who earned $30 million, and Sebastian Vettel, who earned $25 million.

Tennis

Roger Federer was the highest-paid player in 2022, earning a total of $77 million in salary and endorsements. He was followed by Rafael Nadal, who earned $60 million, and Novak Djokovic, who earned $55 million. Federer has since retired, but will continue to add to his wealth into his retirement. 

Soccer

Lionel Messi was the highest-paid player in 2022, earning a total of $80 million in salary and endorsements. He was followed by Cristiano Ronaldo, who earned $90 million, and Neymar Jr., who earned $74 million.

Golf

Tiger Woods was the highest-paid player in 2022, earning a total of $50 million in salary and endorsements. He was followed by Rory McIlroy, who earned $40 million, and Brooks Koepka, who earned $35 million. Like Federer, Tiger is now semi-retired. It will be interesting to see if Koepka’s endorsements will continue now that he is part of the LIV golf tour. 

It’s worth noting that these numbers are estimates and may not reflect the exact earnings of the mentioned athletes, furthermore these numbers only reflect salary and endorsement earnings and not other business ventures or investments. This highlights the importance of building a personal brand and securing endorsement deals for professional athletes.

How the highest paid athletes compare with the highest paid celebrities

When compared to other celebrities, the highest-paid athletes rank among the best in the world. However, they still trail behind the top-earning celebrities in other industries, such as musicians and actors. According to Forbes, the highest-paid musician in 2022 was Taylor Swift, who made $200 million, who has 240 million follower on Instagram and 90 million on Twitter. And, the highest-paid actor was Dwayne Johnson, who made $87.5 million.A

Net worth of richest athletes of all time

Athletes have built tremendous worth from their athletic performance and personal brands they have created

Athletes are among the most highly paid individuals in the world, thanks to their incredible talents and the global popularity of their respective sports. However, some of these highest-paid athletes have managed to accumulate a wealth that is truly staggering, rivalling that of the wealthiest businesspeople and celebrities. In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the wealthiest athletes in history, including their net worth and how they made their fortunes.

Michael Jordan: 

With a net worth of $2.1 billion, Michael Jordan is widely considered the wealthiest athlete of all time. He made his fortune through a combination of salary and endorsements, as well as his ownership stake in the Charlotte Hornets. During his playing days, Jordan was always one of the highest-paid athletes, earning over $230 million in salary from the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards. Moreover, his endorsement deals with companies such as Nike, Gatorade, and Hanes have made him one of the highest-paid athletes in history.

Tiger Woods: 

With a net worth of $800 million, Tiger Woods is one of the wealthiest golfers of all time. He has earned over $120 million in prize money throughout his career, and his endorsement deals with companies such as Nike, Rolex, and Gatorade have made him one of the highest-paid athletes in history. Additionally, Woods has also been successful in the business world, and his golf course design company has been involved in the development of several high-profile golf courses around the world.

Serena Williams: 

Serena Williams has a net worth of $320 million. Throughout her career, she has earned over $90 million in prize money and has endorsement deals with companies such as Nike, Gatorade, and JPMorgan Chase. Williams also has her own clothing line and has invested in various companies like Daily Harvest, The Honest Company and MasterClass.

Michael Schumacher: 

Michael Schumacher is considered one of the greatest Formula One drivers of all time and had a net worth of $800 million. He earned over $1 billion in salary and endorsements during his career, and also has a successful business career with a motorcycle dealership and several other ventures.

Roger Federer: 

With a net worth of $450 million, Roger Federer is considered one of the wealthiest tennis players of all time. He has earned over $120 million in prize money throughout his career, and his endorsement deals with companies such as Nike, Rolex, and Credit Suisse have made him one of the highest-paid athletes in history.

LeBron James: 

With a net worth of $450 million, LeBron James is considered one of the wealthiest basketball players of all time. He has earned over $400 million in salary and endorsements during his career, and has invested in various businesses such as Blaze Pizza, Liverpool FC and McDonald’s.

Cristiano Ronaldo: 

Cristiano Ronaldo has a net worth of $500 million. He has earned over $500 million in salary and endorsements during his career, and has invested in various businesses such as hotels, clothing lines and a fashion line.

Floyd Mayweather: 

Floyd Mayweather has a net worth of $500 million. He has earned over $800 million in prize money and endorsement deals during his career as a professional boxer.

Lionel Messi: 

Lionel Messi has a net worth of $400 million. He has earned over $800 million in salary and endorsements during his career, and has invested in various businesses such as a hotel and a sports-related venture.

Neymar Jr.: 

Neymar Jr. has a net worth of $200 million. He has earned over $500 million in salary and endorsements during his career, and has invested in various businesses such as a hotel and a sports-related venture

Best Michael Jordan ads of all time

How the major sports leagues compare

The NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL are all major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada. They each have a large following, but the NFL is generally considered the most popular league in North America. The NFL has the highest television ratings and the largest overall viewership of any sports league in the US. The NBA comes in second, followed by MLB and NHL.

When it comes to TV ratings, the NFL dominates the other leagues with an average of 15.8 million viewers per game during the 2020 regular season. This is nearly double the average viewership of the NBA, which had 8.2 million viewers per game. MLB averaged 4.3 million viewers per game, while the NHL had an average of 1.5 million viewers per game.

Attendance is also higher for NFL games compared to the other leagues. 

In the 2020 regular season, NFL games had an average attendance of 66,448, while NBA games had an average attendance of 17,987. MLB games had an average attendance of 23,175, and NHL games had an average attendance of 17,934.

In terms of revenue, the NFL is also the most profitable league, generating over $15 billion in revenue in 2019. The NBA generated $8.3 billion in revenue, MLB generated $10.7 billion, and the NHL generated $4.5 billion.

When compared to other sports leagues around the world, the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL are still among the most popular and profitable. Formula One, for example, had an average global television audience of 425 million viewers in 2020. Tennis, specifically the four Grand Slams, also have a global reach with the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and US Open all attracting millions of viewers each year. Soccer, or football as it is known in most of the world, is the most popular sport globally, with FIFA World Cup matches drawing over one billion viewers.

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Most valuable sports franchises

According to Forbes’ 2022 list of the most valuable sports franchises, the top 5 are as follows:

  1. Dallas Cowboys – $6.8 billion
  2. New York Yankees – $6.3 billion
  3. Los Angeles Lakers – $6.1 billion
  4. Golden State Warriors – $5.5 billion
  5. Manchester United – $4.8 billion
Most Valuable Sports Franchises and highest-paid athletes

How each of the most valuable sports team creates wealth

The Dallas Cowboys lead the list with a value of $6.8 billion, maintaining their position as the most valuable sports franchise for the fifth consecutive year. The team’s success on the field, coupled with the opening of AT&T Stadium in 2009, have helped drive revenues and overall value.

The New York Yankees come in at second place with a value of $6.3 billion. The team’s 27 World Series championships, coupled with a lucrative local television contract, have helped solidify their position as one of the most valuable franchises in sports.

The Los Angeles Lakers, who won the 2020 NBA championship, have a value of $6.1 billion and is the third most valuable franchise. The team’s success on the court, as well as their large, dedicated fan base and lucrative local television contract, have contributed to their high value.

The Golden State Warriors, who also have a strong following and a new arena, Chase Center, have a value of $5.5 billion and is in fourth place.

Manchester United, one of the most successful and popular football clubs in the world, is valued at $4.8 billion and is in fifth place. The team’s strong global fan base, coupled with lucrative sponsorship deals, have helped drive its value.

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Our Beloved Brands marketing training programs cover different streams to suit the type of marketer you are. For instance, our marketing training covers consumer marketing, B2B marketing, and Healthcare marketing. 

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Importantly, when you invest in our marketing training program, you will help your team gain the marketing skills they need to succeed. Without a doubt, you will see your people make smarter decisions and produce exceptional work that drives business growth. 

Finally, I wrote our Beloved Brands playbook to help you build a brand that your consumers will love. If you are a B2B marketer, try our B2B Brands playbook. And, if you are a Healthcare Marketer, try our Healthcare Brands playbook.

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Moreover, we provide brand templates that help you run your brand. For instance, you can find templates for marketing plans, brand positioning, creative briefs, and business reviews. Altogether, we offer brand toolkits with all the presentation slides you need. 

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Importantly, Brand leaders need to know how to think, define, plan, execute and analyze with the best of them. Moreover, while the brand leaders don’t really know how to do anything, they are looked upon to make every decision. Have a look at our five minute video on everything a marketer must know. To read more, click on this link: Everything.

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