Being really, really good at sports can pay off in a big way. However, as the world’s highest-paid athletes according to Forbes show, it also helps to have a huge fan base, which brings in the multimillion-dollar sponsorships and endorsement deals. Here are this year’s richest athletes.
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20. Fernando Alonso: $36 million
Fernando Alonso gets paid a salary of $34 million. The Spanish McLaren-Honda driver also earns $2 million through endorsement deals with Citigroup and Pirelli.
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19. Dwyane Wade: $36.2 million
Dwyane Wade takes home a $23.2 million paycheque from the Chicago Bulls. The NBA star has his own clothing line and makes an additional $13 million in endorsements, with partners like Gatorade, Panini and Chinese sporting goods brand Li-Ning.
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18. Neymar: $37 million
Barcelona pays their Brazilian soccer star a salary of $15 million. Neymar also makes $22 million through endorsement deals with Nike, Beats Electronics, Gillette, Panasonic and Red Bull.
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17. Tiger Woods: $37.1 million
Tiger Woods’ winnings have dropped to only $107,000, but he still makes $37 million in endorsements, despite his scandal-filled life off the golf course. He was the first athlete to earn more than $1 billion.
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16. Novak Djokovic: $37.6 million
Having failed to win a Grand Slam title in a while, Novak Djokovic’s winnings have dropped to $9.6 million. However, Serbia’s clown of the tennis courts makes $28 million in endorsement deals with Lacoste, Adidas, Seiko and others.
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15. Damian Lillard: $38.4 million
The Portland Trail Blazers pay their star point guard a salary of $24.4 million. Damian Lillard also has endorsement deals with brands like Adidas, Powerade, McDonald’s and Toyota, earning him an additional $14 million.
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14. Sebastian Vettel: $38.5 million
While Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel gets paid the same salary as Lewis Hamilton, the German driver takes home far less. His endorsement deals are worth $500,000.
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13. Russell Westbrook: $38.6 million
Russell Westbrook’s annual Oklahoma City Thunder salary is $26.6 million. The NBA point guard makes an additional $12 million through endorsement deals with Nike and True Religion Apparel.
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12. Phil Mickelson: $43.5 million
Even though golfer Phil Mickelson made only $3.5 million in prize money the past year and lost his Barclays sponsorship after 15 years, he still takes home $40 million in endorsements. He has deals with Rolex, ExxonMobil, KPMG, Intrepid Financial Partners and others.
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11. Drew Brees: $45.3 million
The New Orleans Saints pay Drew Brees $31.3 million and the quarterback also has endorsement deals worth $14 million. These include deals with Nike, Wrangler, Verizon, PepsiCo, Microsoft and Procter & Gamble.
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10. Lewis Hamilton: $46 million
Widely regarded as one of Formula 1’s greatest drivers, Lewis Hamilton takes home a $38 million paycheque from Mercedes. His endorsements, worth $8 million, include deals with Puma, L’Oreal and Monster Energy.
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9. James Harden: $46.6 million
James Harden makes $26.6 million playing for the Houston Rockets. The point guard is one of the most marketable players in the NBA and has $20 million’s worth of endorsement deals with Adidas, Foot Locker, Beats Electronics, BodyArmor and numerous other brands.
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8. Stephen Curry: $47.3 million
Stephen Curry’s earnings from his Golden State Warriors salary and winnings amount to $12.3 million. His jersey is the NBA’s biggest seller and his endorsement deals with JP Morgan Chase, Brita, PressPlay, Under Armour and others bring in another $35 million.
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7. Rory McIlroy: $50 million
Rory McIlroy made $16 million in prize money in the past year but it’s his popularity that really brings in the money. The British golfer has endorsement deals to the tune of $34 million with brands like Nike, Omega and gaming company Electronic Arts.
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6. Andrew Luck: $50 million
The world’s highest-paid NFL player gets $47 million for being the Indianapolis Colts’ star quarterback. Andrew Luck earns an additional $3 million through some endorsement deals, mainly with Nike.
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5. Kevin Durant: $60.6 million
Kevin Durant makes $34 million through endorsement deals with brands like Nike, Beats Electronics and BBVA. The NBA star also gets a $26.6 million paycheque from the Golden State Warriors.
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4. Roger Federer: $64 million
Roger Federer clinched the 2017 Australian Open title, among other victories, to make $6 million in prize money so far this year. The popular Swiss tennis star makes the bulk of his income through sponsorships and endorsement deals with Nike, Rolex and Mercedes Benz, among others.
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3. Lionel Messi: $80 million
Spanish soccer club Barcelona pays their star player Lionel Messi $53 million. The Argentine forward makes some extra cash – $27 million’s worth – through endorsement deals with Adidas, Tata Motors, Gatorade and Huawei Technologies.
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2. LeBron James: $86.2 million
LeBron James is the highest-paid NBA star, with a salary of $31.2 from the Cleveland Cavaliers. He earns an additional $55 million through endorsement deals with companies like Coca-Cola, Nike, Intel and Beats Electronics.
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1. Cristiano Ronaldo: $93 million
Officially the world’s best soccer player, Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo earns $58 million for leading Real Madrid to one victory after another. He also earns $35 million in endorsements from brands like Nike, Herbalife and Tag Heuer.