5 of the Highest Earning Sportsmen and Women in the World

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DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 27: LeBron James (23) of the Los Angeles Lakers takes a breather against the Denver Nuggets during the first half on Tuesday, November 27, 2018. The Denver Nuggets hosted the Los Angeles Lakers at the Pepsi Center. (Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

If you’re blessed with sporting talent, we all know there is big money to be made, but do you know how much the biggest earners take home every year? Whether they earn their keep scoring goals, acing serves or winning big on the Las Vegas strip at the World Series of Poker (WSOP), here arefive of the highest earning sportsmen and women in the world today.

LeBron James

In 2019, Forbes ranked LeBron James as the eighth highest paid male athlete in the world. James moved to the LA Lakers in 2018 to snap up a four-year contract worth $153 million. In 2019, it’s estimated that the four-time NBA MVP has earned $89 million. $36 million of that is said to be from wages, and $53 million from endorsements.  

Serena Williams 

With an estimated net worth of $225 million, and earnings of $29.2 million in 2019 alone, Serena Williams is the highest paid female athlete in the world. Having won an incredible 23 Grand Slam championships, Williams is a household name, and it’s believed that only Tiger Woods and Tom Brady are as well-known as the tennis star with U.S consumers. Williams is the only athlete to feature on Forbes’ list of America’s Richest Self-Made Women. As well as prize winnings, Williams has profitable endorsement deals with many of the world’s most major brands including, Nike, Beats, Gatorade, JP Morgan and AXA Financial. 

Phil Ivey

This 10-time winner of the World Series of Poker, has clocked up an estimated net worth of $100 million. Only around $19 million of this comes from live poker tournament winnings, but Ivey’s empire has spread and he is now one of the most notable faces in the game. Ivey enjoys a highly-lucrative business association with Tiltware, the parent company of Full Tilt Poker, and reportedly earns $920,000 every single month via passive interest alone!

Naomi Osaka

It seems that if you want to earn big, tennis is the sport you need to be good at! Osaka is one of the sports newest names, her star-factor shooting through the roof last year when, as ranked number 19 in the world, she defeated Serena Williams in the US Open. Riding high, her next Grand Slam win was at the Australian Open in January 2019, and over the course of the year she is said to have clocked up earnings of $24.3 million. After her defeat of the Queen of Tennis, Osaka’s off-court earnings leapt from $1.3 million per year, to $16 million after signing deals with likes of Nissan, Mastercard and Procter & Gamble. Not bad for just 21 years of age! 

Lionel Messi

No list of sports biggest earners is complete without a nod to this guy – arguably the best football player in the history of the sport. Lionel Messi is reported to have taken home $127 million in 2019 – $80 million of that comes from his wage from Barcelona FC, and the rest comes from deals with brands, including a lifelong deal with Adidas. No one can say that Messi doesn’t get results. Since moving to Barcelona in 2003, Messi has scored 603 goals for the club across 687 matches, and helped the club to win 33 titles. At 32 years of age, Messi’s net worth is estimated at $400 million.

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