The 30 highest-paid athletes in 2022 (2023)

Sportico have released their list of highest-paid athletes in 2022.

Here, we list the top 30 sportspeople based on their salary and prize money, as well as their merchandise, appearances and licensing in off-field endorsements.

We previously listed the highest-paid athlete per major sport, but now let's take a dive into what athlete as an individual, no matter what sport they are involved in, makes the top 30.

LeBron James — $126.9M

The LA Lakers player tops the list after finishing fifth last year. The American made $36.9M in salary/winnings and $90M in endorsements.


2. Lionel Messi — $122M

The first of four football players to make the list, Messi remains in second place from the previous year. Arguably the GOAT in the football world, the Argentine earned $72M in salary and winnings and $50M in endorsements.

3. Cristiano Ronaldo — $115M

Messi’s long-term rival to the GOAT throne, Cristiano Ronaldo also remains in the same position as the previous year. The Man United MVP made $60M in salary/winnings and $55M in endorsements.

The 30 highest-paid athletes in 2022 (1)

BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - MAY 07: Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United warms up prior to the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Manchester United at American Express Community Stadium on May 07, 2022 in Brighton, England. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

4. Neymar — $103

Up two places on the previous year, the second-highest scoring Brazilian ever earned $65M in salary/earnings and $38M from endorsements.

5. Canelo Alvarez — $89M

The Mexican boxer breaks into the top 10 having placed 12th on last year’s list. He earned $84M in salary and winnings and $5M in endorsements.

(Video) Top 15 Highest Paid Athletes of 2022

6. Stephen Curry — 86.2M

Considered one of the greatest point guards ever, The Golden States player earned $41.2M in salary and earnings and $45M from endorsements. Curry rises from 10th to 6th.

7. Kevin Durant — $85.9M

A former teammate of Curry, Kevin Durant comes in two places higher than before. The Brooklyn Nets star earned $37.9M in salary/earnings and $48M in endorsements.

8. Roger Federer — $85.7M

The 30 highest-paid athletes in 2022 (2)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 05: Roger Federer of Switzerland celebrates match point in his Men's Singles Fourth Round match against Lorenzo Sonego of Italy during Day Seven of The Championships - Wimbledon 2021 at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 05, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

One of tennis' GOATs, if not the GOAT. The classy Swiss is recovering from knee surgery and subsequently made $724k in salary and winnings, but he remains in the top 10 due to his whopping $85M in endorsements, second only to LeBron James in endorsements.

9. James Harden — $76M

The final NBA player to make the top 10, Harden made $40M in salary/earnings and $36M in endorsements. He previously placed 16th on the list.

10. Tiger Woods—$73.5M

The golf icon is the only golfer to reach the top 10, having previously featured 13th on the list. Woods made $8.5M in salary and earnings and $65M from his endorsements.

11. Matthew Stafford — $73.3M

The highest placed NFL player climbs a huge 81 places. The LA Rams veteran quarterback made $70.3M in salary and earnings and $3M in endorsements.

12. Giannis Antetokounmpo — $71.9M

(Video) Top 30 Highest Paid Athletes in 2022

The “Greek Freak” made $35.9M in salary and earnings and $36M in endorsements.

The 30 highest-paid athletes in 2022 (3)

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - MAY 11: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks shoots before Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on May 11, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images)

13. Russel Westbrook — $69.8M

Nine-time NBA All-Star Westbrook made $39.8M in salary/earnings and $30M in endorsements.

14. Tyson Fury — $69M

The “Gypsy King” made $63M in salary and earnings and just $3M in endorsements due to his commendable refusal to endorse gambling and alcohol labels as they are high contributors to mental health issues.

15. Josh Allen — $66.5M

Allen of the Buffalo Bills made $62.5M in salary and earnings and $4M in endorsements.

16. Tom Brady — $58.4M

The greatest quarterback of all time made $18.4M in salary and $40M in endorsements.

The 30 highest-paid athletes in 2022 (4)

TAMPA, FLORIDA - JANUARY 23: Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looks to pass against the Los Angeles Rams during the first half in the NFC Divisional Playoff game at Raymond James Stadium on January 23, 2022 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

17. Deshaun Watson — $56M

Completing the trio of consecutive NFL players to make the list is Watson. The Cleveland star made $55.5M in salary and $500K in endorsements — the lowest in the 30 for endorsements. He climbs 17 places on last year’s list.

(Video) The 10 Highest-Paid Athletes In The World 2022 | Forbes

18. Klay Thompson — $54.2M

The second Golden States Warrior makes the list, Thompson made $34.2M in salary and earnings and $20M in endorsements.

19. Lewis Hamilton — $54M

The highest F1 earner on the list. The Mercedes driver made $42M in salary and earnings and $12M. Hamilton drops eight places on his previous ranking.

20. Naomi Osaka — $53.2M

The first Asian player to be ranked number one in tennis singles and highest-paid woman in the sporting world, Osaka made $1.2M in salary and earnings and $52M in her endorsements.

The 30 highest-paid athletes in 2022 (5)

MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 01: Naomi Osaka of Japan plays a backhand against against Sara Sorribes Tormo of Spain during their Round of 32 match on Day Four of the Mutua Madrid Open at La Caja Magica on May 01, 2022 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

21. Aaron Rodgers — $53M

Another quarterback to make the list, Rodgers made $42M in salary and earnings and $11M in his endorsements.

22. Conor McGregor — $52M

Last year’s number one, McGregor made $32M in salary and earnings and $20M in endorsements.

23. Damian Lillard — $ 51.4M

The Portland Blazer star made $35.4M in salary and earnings and $16M in endorsements, climbing seven places in the process.

24. Mike Trout — $49.5M

The only MLB star to make the list. Trout made $35.5M in salary and earnings and $14M in endorsements. The LA Angels man climbs 50 places in the rankings.

25. Kylian Mbappe — $48.8M

The third of PSG’s incredible trio, Mbappe made $31.8M in salary and earnings and $17M in endorsements. With his contract due to end and plenty of suitors, expect Mbappe to significantly climb the rankings next year.

The 30 highest-paid athletes in 2022 (6)
(Video) Highest-Paid Athletes in the World - Ranking History

MADRID, SPAIN - MARCH 09: Kylian Mbappe of Paris Saint-Germain controls the ball during the UEFA Champions League Round Of Sixteen Leg Two match between Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on March 09, 2022 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

26. Patrick Mahomes — $48.6M

The Kansas City Chief made $28.6M in salary and earnings and $20M in his endorsements.

27. Kirk Cousins — $48.5M

Cousins of the Minnesota Vikings enters the rankings, having not placed previously. He made $46M in salary and earnings and $2.5M in endorsements.

28. Kyle Irving — $44.9M

Joining his teammate Kevin Durant on the list, Irving made $31.9M in salary and earnings and $13M in his endorsements. He drops from 13 on last year’s list.

29. Paul George — $44M

The LA Clippers star made $35.5M in his earnings and salary and $8.5M in his endorsements.

30. Gareth Bale — $43M

The 30 highest-paid athletes in 2022 (7)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 26: Gareth Bale of Real Madrid reacts during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final Leg One match between Manchester City and Real Madrid at Etihad Stadium on April 26, 2022 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Joint last on the list is the enigma  —  Gareth Bale. He made $37M in salary and earnings and $6M in his endorsements. A great deal of money for someone who does not feature much for his club, the Welsh star will likely have enjoyed spending his fortune on golf equipment.

30. Max Verstappen— $43m

The F1 champion climbs 65 places in the rankings. The Dutchman earned $39M in salary and earnings and $4M in his endorsements.



Who is the highest-paid athlete right now 2022? ›

Lionel Messi – Football – $A190m

Messi's crowning achievement of the year will be winning the World Cup – but he was also paid handsomely and takes the title of highest-earning athlete of 2022.

Who has the highest-paid athletes 2022 contract? ›

Highest value global sports contracts 2022

The biggest sports contract of all time, worth an estimated 674 million U.S. dollars, belonged to soccer star Lionel Messi.

Who is the highest-paid athlete in 2023? ›

1.Lionel Messi

With earnings of $130 million, including $55 million from endorsements, Messi topped the list of the 10 highest-paid athletes for the 12-month period that began on May 1, 2023.

Who is the number one athlete in 2022? ›

Greatest athletes of 2022 'revealed' with five stars of US sport joining soccer legends and tennis icon in top 10. LIONEL MESSI was named the greatest athlete of 2022 in a fan poll ahead of five US sport stars. The soccer superstar guided Argentina to World Cup glory in Qatar earlier this month.

Who is the richest athlete of all time? ›

2010–2019 list
1Floyd Mayweather Jr.Boxing
2Cristiano RonaldoAssociation football
3Lionel MessiAssociation football
4LeBron JamesBasketball
6 more rows

Who is the #1 paid athlete? ›

100 Highest-Paid Athletes in the World 2022
2022 RankAthleteSalary/Winnings
1LeBron James$36.9M
2Lionel Messi$72M
3Cristiano Ronaldo$60M
58 more rows

Who is the highest-paid athlete not including endorsements? ›

James Harden ($76 million, No. 9) and Mike Trout ($49.5 million, No. 24) had two of the biggest athlete paydays from the BA deal, with Harden earning close to $20 million.
2022 Highest-Paid Athlete in Each Sport.
AthleteLeBron James
9 more columns
May 11, 2022

Who is the top 3 highest-paid athletes in the world? ›

Russell Wilson - $48.5 Million

Kyler Murray comes in second at $46.1 million, and Deshaun Watson comes in fourth at $46 million flat. Patrick Mahomes held the record for the highest-paid player in the NFL at one point, with a $45 million annual salary.

What sport gets the most money? ›

Highest Paying Sports in the World

Basketball is the highest paid sport in the world, with the average annual salary in the NBA in 2023 being nearly $10.5 million. This is more than double the average salary in the NFL, which sits in second place at $4.5 million.

Who is the highest paid retired athlete? ›

After playing a total of 15 seasons in the NBA, playing for both the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards, there's no surprise that Michael Jordan is the richest athlete in the world.

Who is richest player in the world? ›

Messi first became the world's highest-paid athlete on Forbes' list in 2019. He topped the list again in 2022 with total earnings of USD 130 million.

Who is the top 10 athletes of all time? ›

  1. Michael Jordan.
  2. Babe Ruth.
  3. Muhammad Ali.
  4. Jim Brown.
  5. Wayne Gretzky.
  6. Jesse Owens.
  7. Jim Thorpe.
  8. Willie Mays.

Who is the most loved athlete? ›

Cristiano Ronaldo is the most widely followed athlete in the world. The Portuguese icon has won five Ballon d'Or awards. While the Lionel Messi-Ronaldo debate over who the GOAT of football might be might never end, there is no doubt over who the most popular one is. Ronaldo is the most followed individual on Instagram.

Who is the most popular athlete? ›

The full rankings are as follows:
  • Cristiano Ronaldo.
  • Neymar Jr.
  • Lionel Messi.
  • Tom Brady.
  • Novak Djokovic.
  • Virat Kohli.
  • LeBron James.
  • Rafael Nadal.
Dec 13, 2022

Who are the three billionaire athletes? ›

But in terms of net worth, again, only three athletes have made it to the billionaires club. They are LeBron James, Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods.

Who is the highest paid female athlete? ›

Naomi Osaka once again tops the list of the highest-paid female athletes in the world, bringing in $51.1 million in 2022, according to Forbes. She's followed by Serena Williams, who earned $41.3 million.

Who is the highest paid NFL player? ›

The Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers leads the list, at $50.3 million per year. The Denver Broncos' Russell Wilson is second, at $49 million per season, with the Arizona Cardinals' Kyler Murray at $46.1 million.

What athletes are worth $1 billion? ›

Forbes: Tiger Woods becomes billionaire, joining LeBron James and Michael Jordan. Tiger Woods now has an estimated net worth of at least $1 billion, according to Forbes. He joins LeBron James and Michael Jordan as the only athletes to reach the mark.

Who is the richest black athlete? ›

LeBron James

No surprise here. Earlier this year, he became the first active NBA player to become a billionaire, so there's no shock he's one of the highest-paid athletes in the world.

Who is the first sports billionaire? ›

Now Woods can add one more accolade to his trophy case: the first athlete to earn $1 billion. Our calculations show that the $10 million bonus Woods earned winning this year's FedEx Cup title nudged him over the $1 billion mark in career earnings.

How many billionaire athletes are there? ›

Tiger Woods has officially joined LeBron James and Michael Jordan as one of only three billionaire athletes in the world.

What athlete donates the most money? ›

The most charitable athlete in the world is Cristiano Ronaldo. The Real Madrid star topped the "Top 20 Athletes Gone Good" list from which ranks the top most charitable athletes on the planet.

Which athlete has the most expensive contract? ›

Largest sports contracts
RankNameLength of contract
1Lionel Messi4 years (2017–2021)
2Cristiano Ronaldo2.5 years (2023–2025)
3Patrick Mahomes10 years (2020–2031)
4Mike Trout12 years (2019–2030)
54 more rows

Which athlete still makes 60 million a year in endorsements from Nike even though he is retired? ›

Michael Jordan: $60 million/year

In fact, Jordan still receives Nike endorsement money despite the fact that he has not been on the professional court since 2003.

What is the lowest paying sport? ›

East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) rookies earn a minimum of $415 per week and veterans make $460 per week over the course of a 72-game regular season, which comes out to less than $24,000 for the year.

Which sport makes the most money in USA? ›

Basketball is not only the highest-paid sport in America but also the highest-paying sport in the entire world. NBA players make more money than any other professional athlete in any sport, league, or country.

Which sport makes you taller? ›


Sometimes children can grow a little taller than their parents, but only a little, so to naturally accentuate growth by more centimeters, basketball is recommended as one of the best options. High jumping causes the skeleton to strengthen as well as lengthen.

Is there a billionaire football player? ›

Despite being 35 years old, Messi continues to be the most coveted footballer on the planet and he is one of six billionaire (net worth of over $1 billion) athletes in the world today.

Who is the top 10 richest player? ›

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo dethroned in the Top 10 Richest footballers in the world (2023)
  • Neymar (Net Worth) - $200 million.
  • Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Net Worth) - $190 million. ...
  • Wayne Rooney (Net Worth) - $170 million. ...
  • Ronaldo (Net Worth) - $160 million. ...
  • Alexandre Pato (Net Worth) - $150 million. ...
5 days ago

Which club is the richest club in the world? ›

Manchester City have retained their status as the world's richest football club, according to the latest edition of the Deloitte Football Money League, which underlines the dominance of the Premier League.

Who is the greatest male athlete? ›

Winners and nominees
2016LeBron James (3)Basketball
2017Russell WestbrookBasketball
2018Alexander OvechkinIce hockey
2019Giannis AntetokounmpoBasketball
27 more rows

Who was America's greatest athlete? ›

Some say that Jim Thorpe (1887-1953) was America's greatest all-around athlete: a gold medalist at the 1912 Olympics in the decathlon and pentathlon; a star on the Carlisle Indian School's football team and the first class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame; and a major league baseball player for John McGraw's New York ...

Who has the best athlete body? ›

1) Cristiano Ronaldo, Professional Football Player : -> Cristiano Ronaldo is a Portuguese professional footballer who plays as a forward for Spanish club Real Madrid and the Portugal national team. -> He has most probably the best athlete body in the world.

Who is the most legendary athlete? ›

The Big Five: The 5 Most Recognizable Athletes in Sports History
  1. Babe Ruth.
  2. Michael Jordan. ...
  3. Muhammad Ali.
  4. Tiger Woods. ...
  5. Jackie Robinson. His name will forever be synonymous with 'first'—the first black baseball player in the 20th century. ...

Who is the most Googled athlete of all time? ›

Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, and Serena Williams topped the list of Google's Most Searched Athletes in the World in 2022. Google's Year in Search 2022: After a year-long hiatus due to COVID-19, most major sports events returned to their former glory in 2022.

Who is the best player in the world? ›

1. Lionel Messi (PSG)

Which sports player has most followers? ›

Cristiano Ronaldo is the most-followed person on Instagram, with over 551 million followers. Lionel Messi is the most-followed South American on Instagram, with over 436 million followers. Selena Gomez is the most-followed woman on Instagram, with over 392 million followers.

Which athlete has the most fans in the world? ›

Cristiano Ronaldo is the most popular sporting athlete on Instagram with 520+ million followers. Born in Madera Island, ?? Portugal, Cristiano Ronaldo is the most popular sports athlete on Instagram. On the 31st December 2022, Cristiano Ronaldo signed a new contract with Al Nassr F.C.

Who has the biggest contract in the NBA 2022? ›

NBA Player Salaries
1.Stephen Curry$48,070,014
2.John Wall$47,345,760
3.Russell Westbrook$47,080,179
4.LeBron James$44,474,988
53 more rows

Who is the second highest paid athletes in the world 2022? ›

Messi is ranked second with earnings of $122 million, followed by Ronaldo at third with yearly earnings of $115 million in Sportico's 100 Highest-Paid Athletes in the World 2022 list. This includes their match salaries as well as endorsement earnings.

Who has the biggest contract in American sports? ›

Based on Average Pay per Year
Name, Organization, SportAverage per YearContract Total
Anthony Rendon, Los Angeles Angels, Baseball$35,000,000$245,000,000
Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals, Baseball$35,000,000$245,000,000
Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks, Football$35,000,000$140,000,000
22 more rows

Who is richest NFL player? ›

With a net worth of roughly $600 Million, Roger Staubach is the wealthiest NFL (National Football League) player. Behind Roger Staubach is John Madden, with an estimated net worth of $200 Million, followed by Peyton Manning (No. 3, $200 Million); and Tom Brady (No. 4, $180 Million).

Who is the richest paid NFL player? ›

Cap Hit
  • Deshaun Watson. CLE, QB. $54,993,000.
  • Patrick Mahomes. KC, QB. $49,293,381.
  • Josh Allen. BUF, QB. $39,772,281.
  • Ryan Tannehill. TEN, QB. $36,600,000.
  • Kirk Cousins. MIN, QB. $36,250,000.

How much do NFL refs make? ›

The NFL won't disclose how much money their referees make, but based on the expired collective bargaining agreement from 2019, officials made an average of $201,000 per year, according to That accounts for all officials that appear on the field, which means the head referees for games could make even more.

Who is richest NBA player? ›

1. Michael Jordan Net Worth - $2.2 Billion. Viewed by many as the greatest player in NBA history, Jordan has turned his basketball acumen into a multi-billion dollar enterprise.

Who in the NBA has a 200 million dollar contract? ›

Stephen Curry Becomes 1st Player to Receive $200M Contract in NBA History. Fact: Steph Curry reportedly agreed to a five-year, $201 million contract with the Warriors on Saturday, becoming the first player to receive a $200 million contract in NBA history.

Who is the highest-paid female athlete? ›

Naomi Osaka once again tops the list of the highest-paid female athletes in the world, bringing in $51.1 million in 2022, according to Forbes. She's followed by Serena Williams, who earned $41.3 million.

Who is the highest-paid American athlete per year? ›

Patrick Mahomes held the record as the NFL's highest-paid player at one point with his $45 million annual salary.

What sport sells the most tickets in America? ›

STATSCORE's Betting Industry Review 27/02/2023
SportMajor leagueTV viewing record
American footballNFL111.9m
Ice hockeyNHL27.6m
1 more row
Mar 9, 2020

Which American sport brings in the most money? ›

NFL – National Football League

It's the most profitable professional sports team not just in the US, but in the world for 2021.

What is the most expensive American sport to play? ›

The most expensive sport to play is ice hockey.

For ice time and equipment, the total comes to around $2,000. The equipment keeps the players safe as they come into full contact with each other and often fall on the ice.


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