The world of sports has changed a lot over the last couple of decades, and the amount of money around sports has been growing by incredible amounts.
Today, top athletes make eye-watering sums that their counterparts of just twenty or thirty years ago could hardly have dreamed of, and the endorsement deals private companies are offering these players are simply staggering.
Just the top 50 best-paid athletes today make a combined $3 billion every year according to Forbes, which just goes to show how far the sports industry has actually come.
We take a look at the top three best-paying athletes today and the sources of their incredible wealth as we explore exactly how single players can be worth so much money.
#1 – Lionel Messi – $130 Million a Year
There is hardly a person in the world who has not heard the Argentine’s name, especially following his heroics at the 2022 World Cup, which allowed him to finally win the biggest prize in the game.
Playing at Paris Saint Germaine (PSG) in French Ligue 1, Messi makes $75 million per year, which is an incredible amount in itself. However, the superstar nearly doubles that figure by earning an additional $55 million from the numerous endorsement deals he has in place.
PepsiCo, Budweiser, and Adidas are only some of the companies that Messi lends his likeness to in exchange for millions of dollars a year, making him one of the wealthiest people in the world of sports.
While Messi was not always this active outside of the pitch in his earlier years, his incredible popularity has simply made it impossible for the diminutive Argentine to avoid the offers which have been increasing in value with each passing year.
#2 – LeBron James – $121.2 Million a Year
The NBA is certainly one of the biggest sporting competitions in the world and it is no secret that the top NBA stars earn massive salaries.
There are few names in the top basketball competition that are as popular as LeBron James, and the LA Lakers superstar makes the most of them all, raking in an incredible $41.2 million a year from the club.
However, it is LeBron’s off-field activities that make the most of his $121 million a year, as appearances in Space Jam, Super Bowl commercials, and his endorsement deal with Crypto.com, made him the second best-paid athlete of 2022.
While James has been incredibly active off the pitch, his LA Lakers missed the playoffs last season, and it will be interesting to see if they can do better this time around, with great betting opportunities offered at wetten.com/us.
#3 – Cristiano Ronaldo – $115 Million a Year
The Portuguese soccer superstar has been stealing the headlines for many years. His incredible career made him a superstar of Manchester United, Real Madrid, and Juventus before he decided to return to England and give it another go with his boyhood club.
While this did not go as some would have hoped for, Ronaldo still managed to earn an outstanding $115 million last year, $60 million of which came from the club, while another $55 million was the product of his partnerships with Nike, Clear, Herbalife, and others.
Ronaldo has since made a move to Arabia, where he now plays for Al Nassr, and it is believed that his salary there will exceed what he was earning at United, which could see 2023 be even more profitable for one of the wealthiest athletes in the entire world.