The world of professional sports never ceases to amaze. For several days now, the most discussed news is the current rating of the most popular and highly paid athletes on the planet. Such statistics have been kept for several decades: fans, supporters and just fans of big-time sports have always shown interest in the salaries of sports stars. Usually, Forbes magazine provides the most verified information for readers.
Today there are two equally authoritative sources on the agenda: “Forbes” and the business portal “Sportico”. Of course , the amounts of fees from the top five are impressive, which gives rise to a huge amount of speculation and rumors.
This year, the payouts offered to the general public differ considerably. Forbes magazine counted the Los Angeles Lakers forward at $6 million less than Sportico. Against the background of the total income, these figures are absolutely lost and do not really matter, but it affects the distribution of places among the participants. Forbes gives the first place in list to Lionel Messi, while Sportico specialists insist on the candidacy of Lebron James. It is a pity that professional betting does not include betting on the prediction of the winner in this competition.
After analyzing the lists of the highest paid athletes on the planet, the first thing that comes to mind is 3 conclusions:
- the sports whose representatives can count on a place in the top three richest athletes: football, basketball and boxing. These categories have been firmly at the top of Olympus for decades, swapping places with each other every year;
- For several years now, there has been a tendency for big sponsors to show less interest in star players. This can be seen in the amount of fees they are willing to pay their favourites. In basketball, on the other hand, the situation is the opposite: the players’ popularity is increasing, and the fees are pleasing;
- The rankings of the richest athletes do not only include a male audience: female athletes actively sign contracts with global brands. And yet the payouts don’t compare with men’s salaries
The top three on the list of richest athletes
The new list of wealthy athletes was no intrigue; the results could be guessed even without exact numbers. Professional basketball player, successful businessman and philanthropist Lebron James was named the highest-paid athlete of the year, earning $126.9 million over the past 12 months. His performance with the Los Angeles Lakers brought in $36.9 million, but his contracts with global brands and his own business added as much as $90 million to Lebron’s coffers.
The second place in the ranking rightfully belongs to star footballer Lionel Messi. The legendary PSG striker, despite his difficulties in transferring to another club, earned $72 million in 12 months. Dividends in advertising, gifts from sponsors and personal business brought him a further 50 million.
In third place was the talented and assertive Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese footballer has been at the top of the rankings for several years in a row because of the incredible fees he has earned for signing contracts with Real Madrid and Juventus football clubs. On a separate note, there are the lavish advertising terms with Nike and EA Sports, as well as earnings from the sale of his own clothing line, CR7.
The great and powerful James Lebron
The 2021/2022 season did not bring special regalia for the Los Angeles Lakers: even with the stellar participants, the team was able to take only 11th place in the Western Conference. But for the heavy forward of the team this year was the most profitable in his entire career.
His professional career began with a contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers, signed in 2003. From 2010 to 2014, he played for the Miami Heat, and after that he returned to his native team for 4 years. Since July 9, 2018, Lebron has been successfully playing as a power forward for the Los Angeles Lakers. For 18 years in the NBA, Lebron has become a cult figure and an example for entire generations.
Professional basketball brought James $36.9 million, which in itself is a mediocre amount for NBA clubs. Especially for such a titled basketball player. During his career, Lebron won the MVP award for 4 years, was named the best player of the week 54 times and participated in the NBA All-Star Game for 16 years in a row. Sports betting games rarely offer profitable statistical bets, but here, too, James is an exception.
The athlete’s life outside the basketball court is no less busy and successful. Thanks to his business acumen and easy-going personality, James has managed to sign multi-million dollar contracts with some of the world’s best-known brands.
Nike offered the basketball player an incredibly lucrative deal. The first deal, in the form of a promotion, offered the athlete a payment of $100 million over seven years. The most recent agreement took place in 2015, when the company offered the basketball player a lifetime deal. Such unprecedented generosity is not typical even for Nike, but both sides were extremely happy with the terms of the contract.
Lebron’s main sponsors include Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Epic Games. Pepsico and Walmart are also actively using the athlete’s popularity to promote their products.
Lebron has spent his time away from basketball making astute investments. For example, he owns 70 million shares in the famous Fenway Sports Group. He also has a stake in Tonal, which specialises in home fitness equipment. And shares in Beats Electronic have made big profits since the company became part of Apple.
The talented basketball player is also a creative person outside the sporting field. Together with his childhood friend Carter, Lebron set up his own production company called The SpringHill. Lebron even starred in the second part of “Space Jam”. But, the film did not bring much revenue: box office returns were $ 162.9 million on a budget of 150 million.
A large part of James Lebron’s expenditure relates to charitable work. His track record includes taking part in fundraising events, paying medical bills for underprivileged children and founding his own foundation for students in his home town’s public schools in Akron. He sponsors the purchase of textbooks and stationery, school transport and sporting events for school children. Lebron enjoys the benefits of a rich life, but does not forget to help those less fortunate.