Being a superstar athlete sure does pay. Between player contracts, endorsement deals, brand connections, and signature apparel, athletes have plenty of opportunities to bank on their popularity – but not all players reach their potential when it comes to career earnings. It takes hard work, natural athletic skill, a length playing career, smart management, and sometimes a little bit of luck to become a brand all yourself. Sports might be a young man’s game, but building empires favors the wizened pros.
Some athletes manage to parlay relatively short careers into monumental fortunes over their lifetimes, so they’re still getting paydays long after they’ve stepped away from the spotlight of competition. The on-the-field earnings figures include all prize money, salaries and bonuses, while the off-the-field earnings figures are an estimate of sponsorship deals, appearance fees and licensing income, plus cash returns from any businesses operated by the athlete. Taxes or agents’ fees are not deducted.
Here are the top 10 highest paid athletes in the world.