The world’s best athletes have plenty of opportunities to bank on their popularity. Besides lucrative sports contracts, most of them earn even more significant profits from heavy endorsement deals.
According to data presented by Safe Betting Sites, Connor McGregor, as the highest-paid athlete in the world, racked up on and off-field earnings of around $180 million this year, more than Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo or LeBron James.
McGregor Earned $158M in Endorsements, Three Times More than Cristiano Ronaldo
McGregor’s performance earnings came from his appearance at UFC 257 in January 2021, in which he was knocked out by Dustin Poirier in the second round. Despite the disappointing showing, the MMA fighter could still boost his income through various endorsements and sponsorship deals, including those with Reebok and Beats by Dre. His primary source of off-field income came through the sale of his whiskey brand Proper No. Twelve to Proximo Spirits.
The Forbes data revealed that Conor McGregor earned $158 million in endorsements this year, three times more than Cristiano Ronaldo and double of LeBron James, as the athlete with the second-largest endorsement earnings globally.
As well as winning an incredible number of trophies, Lionel Messi tops the list of the highest-paid footballers. With $130 million in this year’s earnings, Argentinian footballer ranked as the second highest-paid athlete globally. Statistics show Messi has one of the two highest salary earnings, bringing him $97 million in 2021. Endorsement deals, including a lifetime sponsorship deal with Adidas, and deals with Pepsi, Lay’s, and Budweiser, brought him another $33 million this year.
The Portuguese superstar, Cristiano Ronaldo, is the third highest-paid athlete globally. His on-field earnings hit $70 million this year, $27 million less than Messi.
However, the famous footballer, who boasts five Champions League titles to his name, had off-field earnings of $50 million thanks to a lifetime deal with Nike and endorsements with DAZN, Electronic Arts, and Tag Heuer.
Three out of Ten Highest-Paid Athletes are Soccer Players
An American football player, Dak Prescot ranked fourth on the Forbs list of the highest-paid athletes globally. The Dallas Cowboys` quarterback earned $107.5 million in 2021, $73 million less than the first-ranked Collin McGregor. However, statistics show Prescot has the highest on-field earnings, bringing him $97 million this year.
Basketball superstar, LeBron James, rounds the top five list with $96.5 million in this year’s earnings. His endorsement deals make two-thirds of that value.
The Forbes data also revealed that three out of ten highest-paid athletes globally are soccer players. Football players took two spots on this list, the same as basketball players. MMA, auto racing, and tennis all have one athlete in the top ten list.