The list for the highest paid athlete from each sport in 2022 is revealed. Lionel Messi tops the list as the highest paid athlete overall in the world. We cover all the major sports to see who is the highest paid athlete in each of them.
1. Lionel Messi (Football):
On-field earnings: $75 million
Off-field earnings: $55 million
Total Earnings: $130 million
Lionel Messi’s $20 million-a-year partnership with Socios adds to an endorsement portfolio that includes Adidas, Budweiser and PepsiCo. He also became Hard Rock International’s first athlete brand ambassador in a deal announced last June, helping Messi draw level with Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo with his off-field earnings for the first time since 2013.
Messi won the Ballon d’Or in 2021 as the world’s best men’s soccer player, but he has had a tougher time on the pitch more recently, scoring just nine goals in 32 appearances for Paris Saint-Germain after notching 38 in 47 games in his final season for Barcelona. But while PSG flamed out in the Champions League’s Round of 16, the club captured the French Ligue 1 title in Messi’s first season.
2. Lebron James (Basketball):
On-field earnings: $41.2 million
Off-field earnings: $80 million
LeBron James’ Los Angeles Lakers missed the playoffs this season, but he’s never been so dominant off the court. He starred in last year’s Space Jam: A New Legacy and recently moved his talk show, The Shop, from HBO to YouTube. In October, he sold a significant minority stake in SpringHill—the production company behind both projects—at a valuation of about $725 million, pushing his net worth to $850 million, according to Forbes’ estimates.
After announcing an endorsement deal with Crypto.com in January, James appeared in a Super Bowl commercial next to a computer-generated version of his younger self. He also recently invested in home gym company Tonal and StatusPRO, a sports tech startup that creates virtual reality training products.
Lebron James has his own signature shoes for basketball which is one of the best basketball shoes for every position especially guards. He works with collaboration with Nike.
3. Roger Federer (Tennis):
On-field earnings: $700K
Off-field earnings: $ 90 million
Total Earnings: $90.7 million
Injuries limited Roger Federer to six tournaments in 2020 and 2021 combined, and he has yet to return to the tennis court in 2022. No matter—the world’s former No. 1 player remains the top pitchman in sports, promoting brands such as Uniqlo and Rolex.
He also invested in the burgeoning Swiss shoe brand On in 2019, and the company went public in September, raising more than $600 million. “We work very closely together on product design,” Federer told Forbes at the time, having spent 20 days in the lab with the On team developing the company’s pro tennis shoe.
4. Canelo Alvares (Boxing):
On-field earnings: $85 million
Off-field earnings: $5 million
Total Earnings: $90 million
Canelo Alvarez is boxing’s top draw, earning $40 million or more from his two pay-per-view victories last May and November. (His loss to light-heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol on May 7, 2022, fell outside Forbes’ tracking window for this list.)
Beyond the ring, Alvarez has a lucrative partnership with Hennessy and owns a taco restaurant in his native Mexico, with plans to expand to California. Alvarez said last year that he would be launching a chain of gas stations, and his Canelo Promotions is putting together a series of fights in Mexico in partnership with Matchroom Boxing and DAZN.
5. Tom Brady (American Football):
Sport: American Football
On-field earnings: $31.9 million
Off-field earnings: $52 million
Total earnings: $83.9 million
Tom Brady’s retirement this off-season lasted less than six weeks, which was welcome news for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after he turned in a spectacular 2021 season at age 43. He’s certainly learning some new tricks off the field.
Autograph, the NFT platform Brady cofounded last year, raised $170 million in a Series B funding round announced in January, and Religion of Sports, the production company he cofounded with Pro Football Hall of Famer Michael Strahan and filmmaker Gotham Chopra, unveiled a content deal with Skydance Sports in March.
Meanwhile, his other production company, 199 Productions, is behind the upcoming road-trip movie 80 for Brady, and he has a new clothing line cleverly named BRADY. And when it is finally time to retire permanently from football, Brady already has his next lucrative gig lined up: a commentator role with Fox Sports. According to the New York Post, that deal is set to pay him more than he has earned on the field across 22 seasons in the NFL—$375 million over ten years.
These superstar in thir own right make this year’s highest paid athlete from each sport in 2022.
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