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Top 10 Highest Paid Sports Athletes in 2022

by Sportsdab

1) Lionel Messi: [$130 Million]

Lionel Messi, in full Lionel Andrés Messi, also known as Leo Messi, is an Argentine-born footballer who began playing at the age of five and is now a household name around the world. Messi began playing football at a young age, and his extraordinary abilities drew the attention of prestigious clubs on both sides of the Atlantic. Today he stands as the world’s highest paid athlete, having dominated the Top 10 list for multiple years. But how does this footballing icon amass such amounts of money?

Lionel Messi’s recent endorsement deal with Socios; worth over $20 Million, expands his existing portfolio, which includes Adidas, Budweiser, and PepsiCo. In a deal announced earlier this year, he also became Hard Rock International’s first athlete brand ambassador. This allows Messi to equal Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo in off-field earnings – something he hasn’t done since 2013.

2) Lebron James: [$121.2 Million]

LeBron James, also known as King James by fans across the globe, is an American professional basketball player who is widely regarded as one of the greatest all-around sports athletes of all time. He has four NBA titles total, two with the Miami Heat in 2012 and 2013, one with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016, and one with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2020.

James recently starred in a Crypto.com commercial alongside a computer-generated version of his younger self. He has also invested in Tonal, a home gym company, and StatusPRO, a sports technology startup that develops virtual reality training goods. He also appeared in Space Jam: A New Legacy last year and just transferred his HBO chat programme, The Shop, to YouTube. According to Forbes, he’s believed to have sold a large minority stake in SpringHill, the production firm behind both of his projects, in October for around $725 million, bringing his total net worth to around $850 million.

3) Cristiano Ronaldo: [$115 Million]

Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro, is a Portuguese football forward who, along with Lionel Messi, is largely recognised as one of the finest players of this generation. Apart from boasting the record of having the most number of instagram followers in the world (420 million), Cristiano is also regarded as a familiar name in the list of richest athletes throughout the years.

Much of Ronaldo’s monetary strength stems from his immense social media presence: he has 690 million Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter followers, giving him leverage to demand exorbitant fees from sponsors like Nike, Herbalife, and Clear shampoo. He also owns Tatel eateries, including a new one in Beverly Hills, and is the face of ZujuGP, a new app that aims to create a digital soccer community.

4) Neymar Jr: [$95 Million]

Neymar, in full, Neymar da Silva Santos, Jr., a Brazilian football player is hailed as one of the most prolific scorers in his country’s storied football history. Famously known for his money driven move from Spanish giants Barcelona to French side Paris Saint-Germain, Neymar also boasts a valuable set of endorsements, including Puma and Red Bull.

Neymar: The Perfect Chaos, a new Netflix docuseries, is based on his life. He’s also dabbling in NFTs, signing with the platform NFTSTAR in November and spending over $1 million on two Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs in one day in January.

5) Stephen Curry: [$92.8 Million]

Stephen Curry is an American professional basketball player who is best known for leading the Golden State Warriors to several championships. He was born in Akron, Ohio in 1988 and played basketball throughout his childhood and into his teenage years. Curry is considered one of the best shooters in NBA history and has set numerous records throughout his career.

Curry is set to make a lot of money next season, and even more in 2025. His new endorsement deal with FTX came with an equity stake, and he released a collection of NFTs in December tied to three metaverse platforms. (He pledged to donate the proceeds.) Meanwhile, Curry’s production company, Unanimous media, is also in a development deal with Comcast NBCUniversal.

6) Kevin Durant: [$92.1 Million]

Kevin Durant, full name Kevin Wayne Durant, is an American professional basketball player who won the NBA’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) award in 2013-14 and established himself as one of the best players of his generation while still in his early 20’s.

He has recently added deals with Coinbase, NBA Top Shot and Weedmaps. With media company Boardroom and investment firm Thirty Five Ventures, his business empire goes far beyond endorsements. NFT platform OpenSea and digital fitness startup Future are among his latest investments. He is also backing SeatGeek’s SPAC merger. All in all, his business empire is quite expansive and varied.

7) Roger Federer: [$90.7 Million]

Roger Federer is a tennis player from Switzerland. He is considered to be one of the greatest tennis players of all time. And has won a record eight Wimbledon titles and 20 Grand Slam men’s singles titles.

Roger Federer remains the top pitchman in sports, promoting brands such as Uniqlo and Rolex. He also invested in the burgeoning Swiss shoe brand On in 2019, and the company went public in September, raising more than $600 million.
8) Canelo Alvarez: [$90 Million]

Saul “Canelo” Alvarez is a professional boxer and Mexico’s pride. He has won world titles in four weight classes, including three unified titles. Canelo is the world’s first and only undisputed super middleweight champion, having held the WBA (Super), WBC, and Ring magazine titles since 2020. Canelo is considered one of the best pound for pound boxers across the globe.

In addition to boxing, Alvarez has a partnership with Hennessy and owns a taco restaurant in Mexico. He plans to expand his restaurant to California. Alvarez also said that he would be launching a chain of gas stations. His company, Canelo Promotions, is putting together a series of fights in Mexico in partnership with Matchroom Boxing and DAZN.

9) Tom Brady [$83.9 Million]

Tom Brady, whose full name is Thomas Edward Patrick Brady, Jr., is an American football quarterback who has led his teams to seven Super Bowl victories and has been named the game’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) five times (2002, 2004, 2015, 2017, and 2021).

Tom Brady has co-founded two successful companies in the past year- Autograph, an NFT platform, and Religion of Sports, a production company. Both companies have seen success, with Autograph raising $170 million in a Series B funding round, and Religion of Sports partnering with Skydance Sports.

10) Giannis Antetokounmpo: [$80.9 Million]

Giannis Antetokounmpo is a professional basketball player from Greece. This 6 foot 11 inch basketball prodigy recently led the Milwaukee Bucks to their first NBA championship in 2021.

In December 2020, the Milwaukee Bucks’ two-time MVP signed the NBA’s largest contract by total value to date, a five-year contract worth $228 million. He added WhatsApp and Google’s Pixel 6 phone to his endorsement stable. In November, he invested in timepiece resale platform WatchBox’s $165 million funding round. He has also signed a licensing deal with NFT platform NFTSTAR.

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