The top highest-earning athletes in 2022 have been revealed by research conducted by a sports business publication, Sportico.
LeBron James, an American professional basketball player, is ranked the highest-earning athlete worldwide in 2022.
The rankings were based on estimated earnings from June 2021 to May 2022 as well as combined salary and prize money from off-court empire.
LeBron James earned $126.9 million in the last year to emerge as the highest earner. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo with $122 million and $115 million respectively ranked second and third while Tigerwood with estimated earnings of $73.5 million came in 10th position.
The research also shows that the top 10 athletes earn N1 billion while the top 100 athletes play 10 different sports and collectively earned an estimated $4.5 billion in salary, prize money, and endorsements over the last 12 months. However, this amount is a 6% increase from the amount recorded last year.
Japanese tennis player, Osaka is the highest-paid female athlete in 2022 at $53.2 million and ranks 20th overall in the world. Her on-court earnings were estimated at $1.2 million which was impacted by her break from tennis, she is said to make $52 million from more than 20 endorsement partners.
Osaka and Serena Williams (ranked 52) are the only female athletes that made the list of the top 100 athletes as was the case in 2021.
NBA players featured the most on the list with 36 players making the top 100 highest-earning athletes, NFL followed with 25 players, soccer had 13 athletes and baseball came in next with 12 athletes.
America had the most athletes on the list with 69 majorly from the NBA and NFL, the United Kingdom had 5 athletes, and France 4. Overall 24 different countries are featured on the list.
The 2022 list has 41 new entrants and nearly half were from the NFL. This is believed to be driven by huge signing bonuses.
List of Top 10 highest earning athletes by Sportico
- LeBron James — $126.9
- Lionel Messi — $122
- Cristiano Ronaldo — $115
- Neymar — $103
- Canelo Álvarez — $89
- Stephen Curry — $86.2
- Kevin Durant — $85.9
- Roger Federer — $85.7
- James Harden — $76
- Tiger Woods — $73.5