Home / Sports Lists / The Highest Paid Athletes Today

When you watch the news, hit your favorite sports website or even flip through the newspaper, you’ll likely come across a few stories detailing the salaries among professional athletes. While you might think they earn too much, you need to consider the value they add to their teams. Owners of professional sports organizations like Wes Edens often know that a big name can get more people in the seats and sell more merchandise. Take a look at some of the highest paid athletes in the sports world of today.

Professional Boxers

The highest paid athlete in the world today is boxer Floyd Mayweather. Mayweather brought home an estimated $300 million in 2015 alone. Unlike other athletes who earn salaries from team owners, Mayweather earned more than $280 in prize money by simply winning fights. The remainder of his income came from endorsement deals with major companies. Boxer Manny Pacquiao is the second highest paid athlete in the world. He earned $160 million in 2015 from a combination of endorsement deals and winnings.

Tennis Players

Though you might assume that the highest paid athletes are football, baseball and basketball players, a few tennis players also make the list. Roger Federer of Switzerland earned more than $60 million in a single year. You might find yourself surprised when you learn that only $8 million of his income came from playing with the rest coming from his endorsement deals. While she doesn’t play as much as she did before, Russian tennis player Maria Sherapova ranks as one of the top paid athletes. She earns more than $20 million a year for her endorsement deals and brings home as much as $10 million in winnings.

Basketball Players

LeBron James is the highest paid basketball player in the United States today. After originally starting his career in his home town of Cleveland, he shocked his fans with the announcement that he wanted to switch teams and shocked them again when he returned to Cleveland. James earns a reported $44 million a year off his endorsement deals and around $20 million for playing. Kevin Durant, who plays for the Oklahoma City Thunder and previously played for the United States Olympic team, also makes the list of highest paid athletes. Durant earns nearly $50 million a year from his team and his endorsements.

Other Highly Paid Athletes

Despite getting some bad publicity in the past and losing some of his big contracts, professional golfer Tiger Woods still ranks as one of the highest paid golfers and athletes in the world. Though Woods made less than $1 as a golfer in 2015, he made a reported $50 million in endorsement deals. NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Junior ranks as one of the highest paid racers. He earns just over $20 million every year, with around $10 million coming from the brands and products he sponsors. His teammate Jimmie Johnson makes a similar amount each year. British racer Lewis Hamilton also brings home a healthy paycheck. The Formula 1 driver earns close to $40 million every year.

While some of the money these athletes make comes from their team owners and events they win, most earn even more from endorsement deals. Manufacturers spend more because they know that these athletes will bring attention to their brands and get more customers to buy their products.


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