Forbes released their list of the World Highest Paid Athletes and boxing champion Floyd Mayweather is on the top of the list.
The top 100 earned $877 million from endorsements, memorabilia and appearance fees. International sports brand Nike has the largest number of athletes that featured on the list, 54 out of 100 athletes.
Here is the top 10 list of the world’s highest paid athletes of 2018
10. Matthew Stafford ($59.5M)
Stafford signed the richest contract in NFL history last summer (since exceeded by Jimmy Garoppolo and Matt Ryan). The five-year deal is worth $135 million with $60.5 million guaranteed. The $50 million signing bonus included $34 million at the time of signing in August 2017 and $16 million at the start of 2018. Stafford was the #1 overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft and a Pro Bowler in 2014. He led the NFC in passing yards and set an NFL record as the fastest to 3,000 completions for his career (125 games). Stafford endorses Nike, PepsiCo, Fanatics, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Ford Motor, Panini and St. Joe’s Hospital.
9. Matt Ryan ($67.3M)
Ryan became the NFL’s first $30 million-per-year player in May when the Falcons locked up their franchise quarterback through 2023. The deal set new records for average salary ($30 million), total value ($150 million), guaranteed money ($100 million) and signing bonus ($46.5 million, with half deferred to April 2019). Ryan won the 2016 NFL MVP, while leading the league in passing and getting the Falcons to the Super Bowl. The MVP and Super Bowl raised his marketing profile. His robust endorsement profile includes big brands like Nike, Gatorade, Delta Airlines, IBM, Mercedes Benz and Banana Republic.
8. Stephen Curry ($76.9M)
The two-time MVP signed the NBA’s first $200 million contract last summer. The five-year deal guarantees $201 million from the Warriors. Curry’s salary nearly tripled this past season and was tops in the NBA for the first time. His endorsement partners include Under Armour, Chase, Vivo, eHi, Nissan/Infiniti, Brita, Bubble and JBL and generate an estimated $42 million in off-court income for Curry. Sony Pictures announced a multi-year development and production deal with Curry this year. The newly-formed production company, Unanimous Media, founded by Curry and partners Jeron Smith and Erick Peyton, will look to develop and produce film and television projects with a focus on family, faith, and sports themes.
7. Roger Federer ($77.2M)
The greatest men’s tennis player of all time added two more majors to his tally, bringing his record total to 20. He returned to the No. 1 world ranking briefly in 2018, becoming the oldest by more than three years to reach the ATP top ranking. Federer has won $116 million in prize money in his career, but the total is dwarfed by his off-court earnings from appearances and endorsements. Mercedes-Benz and Lindt renewed their deals with Federer at the end of 2017. He added pasta brand Barilla as a sponsor last year in a deal worth as much as $40 million. Many of Federer’s sponsor relationships run a decade-plus. His partners include Wilson, Credit Suisse, Mercedes, Rolex, Lindt, Jura, Moet & Chandon, Sunrise and NetJets. He is a shoe and apparel free agent after his Nike deal expired in March. His eponymous foundation has raised more than $40 million with a goal to educate one million children in Africa by the end of 2018.
6. LeBron James ($85.5M)
The NBA’s four-time MVP has made it to the NBA Finals eight straight years and nine times overall. During the most recent season, he broke Michael Jordan’s long-standing record of consecutive games with double-digit points and became the youngest player to reach 30,000 career points. For all of his success on the court, King James’ off-court feats are equally impressive. He has the NBA’s top endorsement portfolio with Nike, Coca-Cola (Sprite), Beats By Dre, Kia Motor, Intel and Blaze Pizza. He was an early investor in Blaze, and his investor group owns 17 of the fast-growing franchises. James’ Nike signature sneakers are the best-selling among active NBA players. He has his own production company (SpringHill Entertainment) and media company (Uninterrupted). Even his 2% stake in Liverpool, acquired through his partnership with Fenway Sports Group, is soaring in value with the English club reaching the Champions League Final for the first time since 2007. But James’ greatest accomplishment might be his impact on Ohio children through his foundation. It announced plans three years ago to spend $41 million to send kids to college for free. The foundation will open its first elementary school in 2018.
5. Neymar ($90M)
In August 2017, the Brazilian superstar signed a five-year contract with Paris Saint-Germain worth a total cash outlay of more than $600 million. Of that, $250 million was paid to his former club Barcelona to release him from his contract there. The remaining $350 million will be paid in salary through his playing contract that lasts until June 2022. The 26-year-old works off the pitch with global sponsors Nike, Red Bull, Gillette, McDonalds and Beats by Dre. He was the first soccer player to have his own custom Air Jordan sneakers made by the Swoosh.
4. Conor McGregor ($99M)
The UFC’s biggest star has not stepped foot in the Octagon professionally since November 2016, but Conor McGregor scored his biggest payday to date thanks to a 2017 boxing match with Floyd Mayweather. McGregor banked an estimated $85 million for the fight, more than five times his previous top paycheck. The fight had 4.3 million PPV buys and generated more than $550 million in revenue. The Irishman signed a slew of deals over the past 12 months with the buzz around the Mayweather fight. His current partners are Burger King, Beats by Dre, Monster Energy, David August, BSN, Anheuser-Busch, HiSmile and Betsafe. He also has a residency deal with the Wynn Las Vegas for all of his afterparties, and his digital properties, Conor McGregor FAST Program, MacMoji App, MacTalk App and the Mac Life, also generate cash.
3. Cristiano Ronaldo ($108M)
Ronaldo added a fifth Ballon d’Or, given to the world’s best player, and his fifth Champions League title to his trophy shelf this past season. But the global soccer icon rocked the sporting world with a move to Italian club Juventus in July. He cited a need for a new challenge. Ronaldo’s lifetime Nike contract is worth upward of $1 billion. He has an array of other deals including Herbalife, EA Sports and American Tourister, along with a growing line of CR7 branded products including shoes, underwear, fragrance, jeans, a children’s line (for which he models with his son), a line of hotels and soon-to-open restaurants in Brazil. He remains the most popular athlete in the world with 322 million social media followers.
2. Lionel Messi ($111M)
Messi finished the 2017-18 season as the top scoring player in the Top 5 European Leagues with 45 goals in all competitions. In November 2017, he agreed to a contract extension with Barcelona that will keep him with the club through 2020-21 and pay him an annual salary and bonus in excess of $80 million, making him the highest-paid for his work on the pitch. He will pad that with a lifelong deal with Adidas. Other deals include Gatorade, Pepsi, Ooredoo, Huawei and Hawkers. A theme park based on him, Messi Experience Park, is set to open in 2020 in the Chinese city of Nanjing.
1. Floyd Mayweather ($285M)
Floyd missed last year’s list, but his August 2017 fight versus Conor McGregor in Las Vegas generated more than $550 million in revenue, with Money Mayweather earning $275 million as the “A” side of the bout and for his role as promoter.