1. Floyd Mayweather ($915 Million)
Despite boxing not being the most popular sports, doesn’t mean that you can’t make big money off of it and Floyd Mayweather is an example of that. Over the last decade he has collected over $915 million dollars according to Forbes. His most notable big paydays have been from his May 2015 fight with Manny Pacquiao where he reportedly earned $250 million and his August 2017 fight vs Conor McGregor where he reportedly earned near $300 million. Mayweather is the biggest personality in the sport and combined with his 50-0 record, he is a walking multi-million dollar payday.
2. Cristiano Ronaldo ($800 Million)
Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the richest men in the sport of soccer. He has signed multiple $100+ million dollar deals during his career. Most recently he signed a 4 year deal with Juventus for a reported $140.78 million dollars which is good for around $35 million per season. Not only does Ronaldo make his money on the field but a lot of it comes from endorsements due to his social status. He is one of the most followed people on Instagram and according to Forbes he is earning $47 million per year in endorsements. The biggest is his Nike deal which is said to be similar to LeBron James where he signed a lifetime deal worth somewhere near $1 billion dollars.
3. Lionel Messi ($750 Million)
Messi was the highest paid player in team sports this past season making around $80 million in salary and bonuses. He also inked a new deal a few years ago with Barcelona that paid him a $59.6 million dollar signing bonus and pays him an estimated $667,000 a week for the club. Like Ronaldo, Messi has signed a reported lifetime deal with Adidas and makes somewhere near $30 million per season from endorsements. He doesn’t have quite the profile as Ronaldo but Messi is no slouch which is why he comes in so high on this list.
4. LeBron James ($680 Million)
Of all the current basketball players, LeBron James is easily the most successful in earning potential. With a reported $680 million made in the 2010s he has made over $200 million more than the next closest NBA player. Obviously his numerous max contracts play a role but James has also immersed himself in the business world. He co-founded a digital sports network, his own film production company, and has invested in Blaze Pizza among other things. Like the two above him in this list LeBron has signed a lifetime deal with his main sponsor, Nike, which is reportedly worth $1 billion dollars. LeBron is the most recognizable face in basketball and this number proves it.
5. Roger Federer ($640 Million)
Roger Federer is one of the most accomplished players in tennis history. Despite his career nearing its closing he still fetches big money deals and competes at a high level. Tennis is a lot like golf where you can earn a lot for winning tournaments but the real money is made with endorsement deals. Federer has had a long term deal with Nike and gets a nice chunk of change from Uniqlo after signing a 10 year $300 million dollar deal in 2018. That paired with his numerous other deals such as Rolex & Barilla is why he has earned more than any other tennis player in the 2010s.
6. Tiger Woods ($615 Million)
Tiger Woods wasn’t as dominant in the 2010s as he was prior but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t raked in big money on and off the course. Despite less on the course success he finished the decade as the player who earned the most money from endorsements. He has made over $1.5 billion is career which considering the adversity he went through is an amazing feat and the fact that he bounced back so well. Woods has a huge Nike deal, a golf course design company, and numerous other smaller deals. Woods is a powerhouse in the golf world and is one of the most recognizable faces in US sports. It’s no surprise to see him continue to bring in big money especially as he nears the tail end of his career.
7. Phil Mickelson ($480 Million)
Phil Mickelson has earned almost $90 million in career tournament earnings only behind Tiger Woods. Like Woods, Mickelson earns most of his money from big deals with KPMG, ExxonMobil, Titleist, and many others. There was even talk at one point that he had interest in buying the San Diego Padres. He currently makes around $50 million per year off the course but his biggest single pay day may have been from his special match vs Tiger Woods that was a PPV event. They faced off in a 1v1 format where Mickelson beat Woods and secured a $9 million dollar prize.
8. Manny Pacquiao ($435 Million)
Behind Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao was probably the most recognizable boxers of the 2010s. Between 2010 and 2016 he earned no less than $20 million in a fight including some notable fights like his bout vs Floyd Mayweather in May 2015 when he earned $130 million. Pacquiao is also a hit in the Asian market which makes him even more marketable around the world, possibly more than Mayweather. He may not rake in the same endorsement money as others on this list we have learned being a top tier boxer is very lucrative on a per fight basis.
9. Kevin Durant ($425 Million)
Kevin Durant is one of the youngest people on this list and according to Forbes in this decade his earnings from salary and endorsements jumped 400%. He was always an elite level player but after he joined the Warriors it was clear he entered another level of stardom. Durant now makes over $35 million in endorsements each season along with his contracts that regular pay him near $30 million per season and will continue to go up with his new $164 million dollar deal with the Nets. He also has a 10 year Nike deal that is worth somewhere in the region of $275 million dollars. Durant is on track to follow in LeBron’s footsteps as one of the biggest money makers in the history of the sport.
10. Lewis Hamilton ($400 Million)
Lewis Hamilton is probably the name that the least people recognize from this list but he is the biggest star in Formula One racing. He is constantly winning big races and has been doing so throughout his career. He has 84 wins in his career and has won 5 Formula One championships this decade. With his Mercedes, Tommy Hilfiger, Monster Energy, and other deals he has raked in over $50 million annually in multiple years in this decade. Despite the lack of Formula 1 racing coverage in the US he is an international star and his earnings reflect that.