Highest-Paid Athletes in the World 2023 (Contracts and Endorsements)

In this post, I will be listing the ten highest earning professional athletes in the world who are still playing their sports. These athletes have achieved impressive levels of success in their respective sports and have become worth huge annual contract deals to their teams. Many even earn more from endorsement deals than they make playing. From football or soccer to basketball to golf, these athletes represent a diverse range of sports and have significantly impacted their fields. We’ll be exploring their careers, accomplishments, and total annual income to learn more about how they’ve achieved this level of financial success and deserve these large contracts with teams and brands.[1]

1. Cristiano Ronaldo – $269.5 million per year

Cristiano Ronaldo is a Portuguese professional soccer player who formerly played for Manchester United and the Portuguese national team. Ronaldo has joined Al-Nasr after leaving Manchester United in controversial fashion. Ronaldo signed a contract through the summer of 2025 and, according to reports, will receive $214 million per year to make him the highest paid player in history. He has signed a 30-month contract. Ronaldo has fixed the contract price for the next 2.5 years at around 200 million Euros (more than $214 million USD). He will likely get even more. It is being speculated by experts on social media that Cristiano Ronaldo will prove to be the most expensive player in the history of football (soccer) so far.

Ronaldo earns a significant salary as a professional soccer player and has also signed endorsement deals with major brands such as Nike, Armani, and Herbalife. In addition to his income from soccer and endorsements, Ronaldo has also received sponsorship deals from companies in the soccer industry and other related fields. He is widely considered one of the greatest soccer players of all time and has won numerous awards and accolades throughout his career. As per Forbes’ 2022 list of richest athletes, Ronaldo’s off-field income was $55 million USD.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s deal with the Al-Nasser Football Club details is 2.5 years (2023–2025) for a total payout of $536 million USD over the contract term, $214.5 million USD a year, and $7.1 million USD a game.

2. Lionel Messi $247.5 million per year

Lionel Messi is an Argentine professional soccer player who plays for Barcelona and the Argentine national team. He has made money through salary, endorsements, and sponsorships. Messi earns a significant salary as a professional soccer player and has also signed endorsement deals with major brands such as Adidas, Pepsi, and Gatorade. Messi has also received sponsorship deals from companies in the soccer industry and other related fields. He’s widely considered one of the greatest soccer players and has won numerous awards and accolades throughout his career. Messi had never won a FIFA World Cup prior to Qatar in 2022. It was the only major trophy that he had not won throughout his career. His career is now complete.[2]

His deals with Adidas, Budweiser, PepsiCo and Hard Rock International mean the 35-year-old made $79 million off the field in addition to his $168.5 million a year contract to play.[3]

3. Phil Mickelson – $138 million a year

Phil Mickelson is a professional golfer who makes money through a combination of prize money, endorsements, and investments. Mickelson has won numerous golf tournaments, including five major championships, contributing to his income. In addition to his prize money, Mickelson has also signed endorsement deals with major brands such as Callaway Golf, KPMG, and Rolex. He has also invested in various businesses, including golf courses and restaurants. Mickelson is considered among the most successful golfers of all time and is known for his impressive performances on the golf course.

Forbes reported LIV guaranteed Mickelson an estimated $200 million, half of which he likely got upfront. In all, the 52-year-old pulled in $138 million in the past year.[4]

The LIV Golf Tour is the name of the start-up tour that is attempting to compete with the PGA Tour. The name “LIV” refers to the Roman numerals for 54, the score if every hole on a par-72 course were birdied and the number of holes to be played at LIV events.[5] It was commonly referred to as the “Saudi Golf League” during its early days given that it is financially backed by Saudi Arabia.[6]

4. Kylian Mbappé – $128 million per year

Kylian Mbappé is a French professional soccer player who currently plays for Paris Saint-Germain and the French national team. He makes money through salary, endorsements, and sponsorships. Mbappé earns a significant salary as a professional soccer player and has also signed endorsement deals with major brands such as Nike, TAG Heuer, and Coca-Cola. In addition to his income from soccer and endorsements, Mbappé has also received sponsorship deals from companies in the soccer industry and other related fields. At just 22 years old, Mbappé has already achieved significant success on the soccer field and is considered one of the best young players in the world.

Forbes reported his current playing deal will bring Mbappe about $110 million USD for his salary and season share of a signing bonus plus an estimated $18 million USD in annual endorsement income.[7]

5. Canelo Alvarez – $98.4 million a year

Santos Saúl Álvarez Barragán, known professionally as Canelo Álvarez, is a Mexican professional boxer who has made his money through a combination of prize money, endorsements, and sponsorships. Álvarez has won numerous boxing matches, including multiple world championships, contributing to his income. In addition to his prize money, Álvarez has also signed endorsement deals with major brands such as Tecate and Hennessy. He has also received sponsorship deals from companies in the boxing industry and other related fields. Alvarez is considered one of the best boxers in the world and is known for his impressive performances in the ring.

He earned $42.5 million for the fights, to which must be added his share for all that correspondence to the PPV that was sold for the fight. If you add the TV rights that, according to DAZN, were bought by 1.1 million people, the final unofficial number would climb to $93.4 million for Alvarez.[8]

He made just $5 million from sponsors, according to Forbes.

He is reported to earn somewhere in the region of $20 million a year from his real estate investments, as well as owning a couple of extremely profitable taco restaurants in both Mexico and San Diego.[9] This is not included in his total earnings in this post as it is only for fights and endorsements.

6. Stephen Curry $95.8 million a year

Stephen Curry is a professional basketball player who plays for the Golden State Warriors of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He has made money through salary, endorsements, and sponsorships. As a professional basketball player, Curry earns a significant salary and has also signed endorsement deals with major brands such as Under Armour, Nissan, Infiniti, Chase, Calloway Golf, Rakuten, Subway, Fanatics, and Vivo. Curry has sponsorship deals with companies in the sports industry and other related fields. He’s widely considered one of the best shooters in the history of the NBA and has won numerous awards and accolades throughout his career.

Forbes earlier this year estimated his endorsement income at about $42 million per year, near his basketball salary of $53.8 million this season.

7. Kevin Durant $84.4 million a year

Kevin Durant is a professional basketball player who plays for the Brooklyn Nets of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He has made money through salary, endorsements, and sponsorships. Durant earns a significant salary as a professional basketball player and has also signed endorsement deals with major international brands. In addition to his income from basketball and endorsements, Durant has also received sponsorship deals from companies in the sports industry and other related fields. He is a ten-time NBA All-Star and has won numerous awards and accolades throughout his career, including two NBA championships and four Olympic gold medals.

Durant made $49.4 million through his NBA contract in 2022. Kevin Durant signed a 4 year / $194,219,320 contract with the Brooklyn Nets, including $189,078,320 guaranteed, and an annual average salary of $48,554,830.

He has $35 million worth of endorsement deals with Nike, Google, Alaska Air group, Beats by Dre, American Family Insurance, BBVA, Sparkling Ice, Panini, NBA 2K, Gatorade, Sonic Drive-in, Skullcandy, and Sprint.[10]

8. Dustin Johnson’s $68.5 million a year

Dustin Johnson is a professional golfer who has made money through a combination of prize money, endorsements, and sponsorships. Johnson has won numerous golf tournaments throughout his career, including the 2016 US Open, contributing to his income. In addition to his prize money, Johnson has also signed endorsement deals with major brands such as TaylorMade, Rolex, and Bridgestone Golf. He has also received sponsorship deals from companies in the golf industry and other related fields. Johnson is considered one of the top golfers in the world and is known for his impressive performances on the golf course.

Dustin Johnson won LIV’s triple crown in 2022. He topped the money leaders list, won the individual championship and captained 4 aces to the team championship at Doral’s Blue Monster. Johnson, Patrick Reed, Talor Gooch and Pat Perez split the $16 million first-place prize money.

All of that equals $35.6 million for Johnson, including the $18 million bonus for winning the season-long individual title. Add to that a reported $125 million, four-year contract to defect from the PGA Tour and the $1.6 million he made for playing 12 events on the PGA Tour, and DJ pocketed $68.5 million in 2022. He made about $75 million in 15 years on the PGA Tour.[11]

9. Tiger Woods $68 million a year

Tiger Woods is already a billionaire and despite playing only three times this season on account of a serious leg injury, Forbes estimates he made $68 million in 2022.

Tiger Woods – On Course $43,500 – Off Course $68 million – $68 million total income in 2022 according to Forbes.

The 15-time major winner Tiger Woods is thought to be the greatest golfer of all time by fans and competitors and is reported to have turned down an offer from LIV chief Greg Norman believed to be near the $1 billion mark.[12]

10. Bryson DeChambeau $66 million a year

Bryson DeChambeau is a professional golfer who has made money through a combination of prize money, endorsements, and sponsorships. DeChambeau has won numerous golf tournaments, including the 2020 US Open, contributing to his income. In addition to his prize money, DeChambeau has also signed endorsement deals with major brands such as Cobra Golf, Bridgestone Golf, and Element Electronics. He has also received sponsorship deals from companies in the golf industry and other related fields. DeChambeau is known for his unique approach to golf and has gained a large following among golf fans.

A $62 million payment from LIV propelled DeChambeau to number 3 among the world’s highest-paid golfers and number to ten in highest paid athletes counting other compensation and endorsement deals.[13]

Conclusion

In conclusion, these athletes’ careers and financial success are a testament to the hard work, dedication, and talent it takes to become a top athlete. Each of these individuals has significantly impacted their respective sports and achieved impressive success on and off the field. These athletes have found ways to monetize their success and build impressive incomes through salary, special contracts, and endorsement deals.

Leave a Comment