When you think of big earners in sport, you will certainly think of soccer superstars such as David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo. But do any other sports cross your mind? It’s not just the sports that get the most airtime that produce some very wealthy players. In fact, lots of very niche sports also pay out the big bucks to their successful players. Here are some of the world’s richest sports stars – how many have you actually heard of?
Basketball: LeBron James
It has been reported that one of basketball’s most famous players, LeBron James is all set to earn around 30 million dollars this year. But, to be fair, the king of B-ball sure has earned it! He first made the Forbes list of highest-earning athletes back in 2014 after helping his team win back-to-back NBA championships. Since then, James has earned three All-Star Honors and is now known as one of the all-time greats of basketball.
Golf: Phil Mickelson
Even though Phil Mickelson may only be 30th in the world ranking of golfers, he sure has brought in some big bucks already! Back in 2012, he was the world’s 7th highest-paid athlete after making just over 48 million dollars in one single year! Since then, his overall earnings may have dipped slightly but the money made from all his sponsorships – from the likes of Barclays and Rolex – still keep him up with the top earners in sport!
Supercross: Ryan Villopoto
Now that Supercross has bagged Monster Energy as their official sponsor, it looks like the sport is going to continue paying some seriously high salaries to its top performers! One of whom is Ryan Villopoto, who earned around $150,000 last year. And that’s not too bad for a relatively little-known sport!
American Football: Cam Newton
The Carolina Panthers’ quarterback has sure some a long way since being obsessed with American Football as a youngster! After signing a five-year contract of just over 100 million dollars back in 2015, his average yearly salary works out at around the 20 million dollars mark. Last year, he was given the title of the AP Most Valuable Player, so it looks like his earnings might even increase!
Athletics: Usain Bolt
High earners aren’t only found in team sports, though. You just need to look at the athletics track to spot a few more. And one of the most profitable athletes has to be Usain Bolt. In 2016, the runner made a cool 33 million dollars! The super sports star earns plenty off the track thanks to sponsorship deals and has many global and local partners. His biggest backer has to be the sports brand Puma, which have signed a record ten-million-dollar deal with the iconic runner!
So, as you can see, the highest-earning sports stars aren’t always the most obvious. As long as they can get sponsorship and keep on achieving, there is no limit to how much they can earn! Can you think of any other top-earning players and athletes?