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The salaries of the best paid athletes in the world dropped for the first time in four years.

Best paid athletes don't score only on fields and courts. Where does their fabulous income come from?

Kateřina Ostrejšová
15.Dec 2020
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4 minutes
Messi se šesti Zlatými míči.

This year, the coronavirus pandemic has caused chaos in the world of sport, cancelling many events that have been taking place since the end of World War II. Even so, the world best paid athletes managed to make a decent income. How is it possible? The famous athletes have more than just one source of income.

Why is there so much money in sport?

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Fanoušci na tenisovém zápase.
Fanoušci na tenisovém zápase. Source:

You may wonder, how come that athletes have such high salaries? Do they save lives or help others? The answer is easy. It is an economic theory of supply and demand, which determines how much what costs. Believe it or not, only a handful of players are talented enough to play in the best leagues, tournaments and matches. Let's take football for an example - there is a huge number of football players in the world, but at the same time a shortage of those talented ones, such as Messi and co.

Only 180 out of 1.5 million players in the English youth football leagues will become a Premier League professional. The demand for talented football players is high, because it increases the team's chance for winning titles. A successful team will make more money out of broadcasting rights, merchandise and ticket sales. And that's how it works for basically any sport. So here is your answer. The world of sport simply needs more players like Messi, Federer or James. Practically thousands of people get paid because of them.

Roger Federer - 2,4 billions CZK

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Roger Federer na červeném koberci.
Roger Federer na červeném koberci. Source:

Right now, the best paid sport star is the tennis player Roger Federer. Besides playing tennis, he also receives decent income from advertising revenue. The famous player knows how the business works, as he had already signed 13 advertising contracts that jettisoned him to the top of the chart.

In 2018, he signed a contract with Uniqlo, a Japanese fashion brand, which offered him 6,6 billions CZK for the collaboration. He is also the face of the luxury watch brand Rolex, which earns him approximately 202,5 millions CZK. Besides this, the tennis star is sponsored by luxury brands such as Credit Suisse, Moët & Chandon etc.

His profit from the Grand Slams is 138,6 billion CZK.

Football, football and more football

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Fotbalový fanoušek na stadionu.
Fotbalový fanoušek na stadionu.Source:

Yes, football! That's where the money comes from. Next in the chart are football players, of course. Without a doubt, you may say, because football is the world's most watched sport.

Cristiano Ronaldo - 2,3 billions CZK

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Cristiano Ronaldo na hřišti.
Cristiano Ronaldo na hřišti. Source:

The Portuguese football player ranks at the second place, and fourth in the Forbes Celebrity 100. Ronaldo became the world's first football player to earn more than $1 billion during his football career. He is one of the most followed athletes on social media, with almost 250 million Instagram followers to this day.

The football star joined Juventus in 2018, after 9 years in Real Madrid. Juventus offered him a 4-year contract worth of 1,4 billion CZK. In the following 24 hours after his transfer, he sold almost half of a million of his jersey for 132 million CZK. He won FIFA Player of the Year five times, and he's also the top scorer of all times in the UEFA Champions League.

Besides all of this, he also signed a lifetime contract with Nike, becoming the third person in the world to achieve this. The other two were Michael Jordan and LeBron James. Nike pays him about 440 million CZK each year.

Lionel Messi - 2,28 billions CZK

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Messi se šesti zlatými míči.
Messi se šesti zlatými míči. Source:

One place below him in the chart is the Argentine football player Lionel Messi, who has been the FIFA Player of the Year six times and the top scorer in the European Golden Shoe Awards. His current contract signed with Barcelona expires next year, the team pays him more than 1,7 billion CZK a year.

The superstar signed a lifetime contract with Adidas, which pays him almost 400 million CZK. In September last year, he also established his own brand and opened the Messi Store in Barcelona.

Neymar - 2,1 billion CZK

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Neymar v dresu Paris Saint Germain.
Neymar v dresu Paris Saint Germain. Source:

Another football player! This time, it's the Paris-Saint German's player Neymar. The Brazilian signed a contract for five years, for 7,7 billion CZK. Yes, that's correct! His transfer to PSG from Barcelona was the most expensive transfer ever, and the French club willingly paid the enormous 5,7 billion to have him.

Neymar is the second most popular athlete on social media with 244 million followers on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter combined. He was the first football player to sign a contract with the Jordan brand. This year, he also announced that Netflix is preparing a 5-part documentary about his life. He should receive a decent income from this collaboration as well.

LeBron James - 1,94 billion CZK

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LeBron James
LeBron James Source:

The four-time NBA player LeBron James entered Los Angeles Lakers in 2018, based on a four-year contract he signed for 3,36 billion CZK. The basketball legend makes money on and off the basketball court, too.

He owns the Spring Hill Entertainment production and the Uninterrupted media company. The list of James's assets would be a long one, in 2011, for example, he acquired a minority share in the English Premier League club Liverpool FC. His share is worth 660 million CZK. In 2018, he teamed up with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lindsey Vonn to co-found Ladder, a health and wellness company. Nike has offered him, as to one of the three athletes in the world, a lifetime contract for 22 billion.

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Baseballové hřiště
Baseballové hřištěSource:

The sixth and seventh places belong to two other NBA players - Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant. Even the world famous golfer Tiger Woods holds a great position - he's eighth in the chart. The top 10 is complete with basketball players Kirk Cousins and Carson Wentz.

Floyd Mayweather could be the game changer

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Floyd Mayweather
Floyd MayweatherSource:

The boxing legend Floyd Mayweather might be off the chart now, but that can soon change. The most popular athlete in the history will compete in the ring with the YouTube star Logan Paul (25) in February next year. Both of them will receive an enormous sum of money for this match. Mayweather should be paid $5 million prior to the match (110 million CZK). Plus an additional sum in case of a win, which hasn't yet been made public. With his $915 million career ($400 million added in the last year), he could jump ahead in the charts fast! So who are you betting on?

Luxusní dům na prodej se zahradou a bazénem
Luxusní dům na prodej se zahradou a bazénem, Praha 9

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