The biggest names in the world of sports are loved by the fans, media and brands. And why wouldn’t they be? Every athlete works hard for years before he/she can reach the top of the mountain. And it pays to be amongst the world’s elite sportsperson. Here is the list of world’s highest paid athletes 2019:
20. James Harden | $47.7 M
Houston Rockets’ superstar James Harden is one of the biggest names in NBA. The winner of NBA MVP in 2018, Harden signed a four-year extension with the Rockets in 2017 in a deal worth $171 million. The two time NBA finalist also signed a 13-year contract with Adidas for a reported $200 million. Harden has also partnered with Amazon for his own line of products. The NBA superstar’s total earning are $47.7 million with $17 million coming from brand endorsements alone.
19. Phil Mickelson | $48.4 M
With 44-time PGA Tour events and five major championships, Phil Mickelson is only behind Tiger Woods as the currently active most successful professional golfer. Mickelson has bagged a career prize money of $91 million so far, once again only behind Woods. The 49-year old is also the brand ambassador KPMG, ExxonMobil, Rolex, Workday, Inc., Callaway Golf and Mizzen+Main. The golfer’s total earnings for the year were $48.4 million and $36 million of the total amount came just from brand endorsements.
=17. Mike Trout | $50.6 M
Mike Trout hit the American baseball scene back in 2011 and has gone on to become one of the best young players in the history of the game. The 28-year old plays for Los Angeles Angels in MLB and signed a 12-year contract for a whopping $426.5 million in April – The richest deal in the history of team sports! Rawlings, Topps, J&J Snack Foods, BodyArmor and Nike are some of the biggest brands under Mike’s wings. In fact, back in 2014, he became the first baseball player to get his own shoes since the legendary Ken Griffey Jr. by Nike.
=17. Novak Djokovic | $50.6 M
No. 1 in the World rankings, Novak Djokovic, is without a doubt the most in-form Tennis player at the moment. The Serbian has won 16 Grand Slam titles so far and is just 4 behind Roger Federer’s all-time record of 20. With age on his side, Djoko is expected to end up with more Grand Slams than both Federer and Nadal (19). The 32-year won the Australian Open and the Wimbledon in 2019. Nole’s sponsors include Head, NetJets, Seiko Watch Corporation, Ultimate Software Group, Lacoste, Asics.
16. Russell Westbrook | $53.7 M
NBA MVP in 2017, Russell Westbrook is the 4th highest-earning basketball player in 2019. The Point Guard spent more than a decade with Oklahoma City Thunder before moving to Houston Rockets for the upcoming season in one of the most sensational trade moves of the season. But with Thunders, Russell had a contract worth $205 million, league’s biggest ever in terms of total amount. The 30-year old extended his Nike Jordon deal in 2017, for a period of 10 years. True Religion Apparel, PepsiCo, Samsung Electronics are some of Russell’s biggest sponsors.
=13. Khalil Mack | $55 M
Khalil Mack is the first but definitely not the last American Football player on this list. The Chicago Bears outside Line-backer is currently one of the best defensive players in National Football League (NFL). The 28-year old signed a six-year contract with the Chicago franchise in 2018, worth $141 million, the most valuable deal for a defender in NFL. Mack started his career with Oakland Raiders in 2017. Nike, New Era, Mack Trucks and Panini are some of Mack’s biggest sponsors.
=13. Anthony Joshua | $55 M
Anthony Joshua is one of the most dominant and famous professional boxers at the moment. And why wouldn’t he be? The British boxer’s record reads 22 wins and just 1 loss so far. Such has been his dominance that Anthony has won 21 of his 22 fights via KO. The Olympic Gold medallist also held 4 Championship titles before being stunned by Mexico’s Andy Ruiz Jr. in June. But that has hardly made any difference in Joshua’s popularity as he is the brand ambassador of British Airways, Jaguar, Audemars Piguet, Hugo Boss, Beats Electronics and Under Armour.
=13. Lewis Hamilton | $55 M
There has been no better driver than the 5-time Formula 1 World Champion, Lewis Hamilton in the last few years. The Brit is only the third driver to win 5 World Championships in the F1 history. And with a massive lead in the ongoing 2019 season, Hamilton looks all set to claim the sixth title. The 34-year old is also known for his unique fashion sense which has made him famous amongst brands. Hamilton is the ambassador for Sony, Monster Energy, Police, Puma, Tommy Hilfiger, Bose, L’Oréal and Mercedes-Benz.
12. Ben Roethlisberger | $55.5 M
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been a one-team man, playing for Pittsburgh Steelers since his debut in 2004. Big Ben has also won two Super Bowls with the team, in 2006 and 2009. The 37-year old renewed his contract with the Steelers in April and received a signing bonus of $37.5 million. Panini, Fanatics, Nike and Sprint are some of Ben’s biggest sponsors.
11. Tiger Woods | $63.9 M
Tiger Woods is undoubtedly among the greatest golf players of all time. So it should come as little no surprise that the American is currently the highest-paid golfer. Woods has won 81 PGA Tours and 15 Major Championships, second-most by any golfer in the history. The 43-year old is one of the most famous athletes and is the brand ambassador for Upper Deck, TaylorMade, Monster Energy, Hero Motocorp, Nike and Rolex.
Also Read | 15 Highest Paid Female Athletes 2019 | PV Sindhu
10. Kevin Durant | $65.4 M
Kevin Durant was one of the most underpaid players in NBA during his time with the Golden States Warriors. And although KD did win two Championships with the Warriors, he joined Brooklyn Nets on a four-year contract worth $164 million. Durant’s half the earnings come from his brand endorsements. Google, Alaska Air Group and Nike are some of the biggest names under Durant’s belt. The 30-year old has also invested in more than 30 different companies so far.
9. Stephan Curry | $79.8 M
After signing his first $200 million contracts with the Warriors in 2017, Steph Curry has been NBA’s highest paid athlete for the past two seasons. Chef Curry is one of the biggest stars endorsing Sports brand Under Armour and has been rewarded with his own products by the company. His other brand endorsements include Chase, Palm, Rakuten and Nissan Motors. Curry has also started a production company named Unanimous Media and the first movie under the same banner, Breakthrough released in April.
8. LeBron James | $89 M
King James – Arguably the GOAT! There is little chance that any other basketball player can come anywhere near LeBron James. James joined La Lakers in 2018 in a four-year deal, worth $153 million. The three-time NBA Champ has been a part of a number of off-court investments, thanks to his insane popularity. James has his own production house, Media Company, a Health and Wellness Company and many more. The 34-year old is also known for his charity work and recently opened the first elementary school. James is the brand ambassador for Beats Electronics, RIMOWA, Coca-Cola, KIA Motors and Nike. Nike’s LeBron is one of the most famous sneakers in the market.
7. Aaron Rodgers | $89.3 M
Another one team quarterback in NFL, Aaron Rodgers of Green Bay Packers is the second highest-earning American footballer of 2019. The 2010 Super Bowl Champion’s base salary is $20 million. Rodgers was the fastest to reach 300 passing touchdowns, getting there in just 144 games. The 35-year old is a brand ambassador for Panini, Prevea Healthcare, Adidas, Bose and State Farm.
6. Russell Wilson | $89.5 M
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson recently penned a four-year contract extension worth $140 million, making him NFL’s highest-paid athlete. The 30-year old has won the Super Bowl in 2013, leading the Seahawks to their only title. Wilson is the CEO of brand management firm West2East Empire. He is also the brand ambassador for Wilson Sporting Goods, Amazon, Alaska Air Group, Bose, Mercedes-Benz and Nike.
5. Roger Federer | $93.4 M
There is no arguing that Roger Federer is the legend of the game. For some, he is also the greatest Tennis player of all time. After all, the Swiss Maestro has won 20 men’s singles Grand Slams, most by anyone in the history. And it, therefore, comes across as no surprise that he is the highest paid tennis player as well. The World No. 2 ended his long partnership with Nike in 2018 and signed a 10-year deal with Uniqlo, worth $300 million. He is also the brand ambassador for Credit Suisse Group (ADS), Wilson Sporting Goods, Barilla, Mercedes-Benz and Rolex.
4. Canelo Alvarez | $94 M
The Mexican professional boxer holds the record of 52 wins, 2 draws and just one defeat in his 55-bout career so far. And with his series of fights against Gennady Golovkin, Alvarez became the highest-earning boxer of 2019. DAMZ streaming service paid a whopping $365 million for the boxer’s next 11 fights in pay-per-view. And while Alvares earned $50 million in his first two fights, the Mexican is set to earn $35 million for each of his next bouts.
3. Neymar Jr. | $105 M
There are only three football players in this list, but all three of them are in the top three. And the first one of them is the Brazilian superstar Neymar Jr. The winger’s controversial time at PSG might be in trouble due to transfer news, but he is still earning $41 million per year. To go with that, Neymar is extremely famous on social media and amongst brands and endorses Beats Electronics, DAZN, Electronic Arts, Gillette, Mastercard, McDonald’s, Nike, Red Bull, TCL and many more.
2. Cristiano Ronaldo | $109 M
Cristiano Ronaldo is among the richest athletes in the world. However, due to his move to Juventus from Real Madrid, the Portuguese is behind his arch-rival in last year’s earnings. None the less, the forward earns $31 million per year at Juventus, which goes up to $65 million, including bonuses, prize-winning money, etc. However, that is only the tip of the iceberg. With his own brand CR7 in full swing and his popularity amongst brands, Ronaldo pockets $44 million in endorsements. He is the face of Nike Football apart from endorsing Altice, DAZN, MTG, Herbalife amongst others.
1. Lionel Messi | $127 M
Lionel Messi is pretty much at the top of every list he has ever been part of. And this one is no different. Last year, no other footballer came anywhere near Messi in terms of earnings. And how could they? The Barcelona superstar is the highest-paid footballer in Europe with his salary and bonuses helping him earn $92 million. The 5-time Ballon d’Or winner also has a lifelong deal with Adidas. And his other brand endorsements include Gatorade, Huawei, Mastercard and Pepsi.