The Highest-Earning Athletes in Seven Professional Sports



Cristiano Ronaldo

How much money do the world’s biggest athletes make? And how do they compare across different sports?

We visualized the highest-earning athletes in various professional sports, according to calculations from Forbes. Earnings reported here cover the period of May 2022 to May 2023. Earnings include on-field (salary, bonuses, prize money) and off-field (endorsements, licensing, etc).

Forbes’ research included talking to industry insiders, following news reports, and parsing salary databases.

Who is the Highest Paid Athlete in the World?

Cristiano Ronaldo was the highest-paid athlete in the world, making an estimated $136 million between May 2022 and May 2023. His move to Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr set a record for the biggest contract in the sport at the time.

Here’s how he compared to the top earners in some other sports.


Athlete                                            Sport          TotalEarnings  (May 2022–23)

Cristiano Ronaldo                        Football                                     N136m


2.LeBron James                           Basketball                             $120m


  1. Canelo Alvarez                              Boxing                                    $110M


  1. Dustin Johnson                                 Golf                                   $107M


5.Roger Federer                               Tennis                               $95M


  1. Russell Wilson                           American Football             $85M


  1. Lewis Hamilton                                   Formula 1                   $65M


Source:  Visual

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