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The World's Highest Paid Athletes List 2018

The top earner for 2018 is boxer Floyd Mayweather, with the majority of his pay coming from his high-profile fight against Conor McGregor, who himself placed fourth on the list. Cristiano Ronaldo was on top of this list the previous two years, dropping to third in 2018. Mayweather has previously topped this list in 2012, 2014 and 2015.

Below is the top 10 of the highest earning sportspeople for 2018, taken from the annual list “The World's 100 Highest-Paid Athletes” published by Forbes magazine in June 2018. The earnings totals (in US dollars) are derived from salaries, bonuses, prize money, appearance fees, licensing and endorsement income in the 12 months from June 1, 2017 to June 1, 2018. Taxes or agents' fees are not factored into the figures. See also the Forbes top-earning lists from other years.

Top-10 Highest Earning Sports people from 2018

Rank Name Sport Nationality Earnings ($ million) Previous Year
1 Floyd Mayweather Boxing USA 285 >100
2 Lionel Messi Soccer Argentina 111 3
3 Cristiano Ronaldo Soccer Portugal 108 1
4 Conor McGregor MMA Ireland 99 24
5 Neymar Soccer Brazil 90 18
6 LeBron James Basketball USA 85.5 2
7 Roger Federer Tennis Switzerland 77.2 4
8 Stephen Curry Basketball USA 76.9 8
9 Matt Ryan American Football USA 67.3 >100
10 Matthew Stafford American Football USA 59.5 >100

Next on the list were: Kevin Durant, Lewis Hamilton, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Canelo Alvarez, Tiger Woods, Drew Brees, Sebastian Vettel, Derek Carr, Rafael Nadal.

money in NFLMatt Ryan was the highest paid athlete from the NFL

Highest Ranked For Each Sport in 2018

The highest ranked from each sport is listed below. This year 11 different sports were represented on the list. Basketball was the highest-paying sport overall, with 40 NBA players making the top 100, followed by the NFL with 18 players on the list.

Sport Overall Rank Name earning ($ million)
Boxing 1 Floyd Mayweather 285
Soccer 2 Lionel Messi 111
MMA 4 Conor McGregor 99
Basketball 6 LeBron James 85.5
Tennis 7 Roger Federer 77.2
American Football 9 Matt Ryan 67.3
Auto Racing 12 Lewis Hamilton 51
Golf 16 Tiger Woods 43.3
Baseball 37 Clayton Kershaw 34.5
Track and Field 45 Usain Bolt 31
Cricket 83 Virat Kohli 24

source: from “The World's 100 Highest-Paid Athletes” published by Forbes magazine in June 2018.

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Lists Extra

Football/Soccer is clearly the world's most popular sport, and has the most popular athletes, but which sport has the fittest players (but not necessarily the greatest athlete). These players do not always earn the most. The best of the best have made it to our 7 Sporting Wonders Lists.

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