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The World's Highest Paid Athletes List 2020

The top earner for 2020 was tennis player Roger Federer, with earnings totaling 106.3 million US dollars. He is the first tennis player to rank No. 1 since the list was first created in 1990. Last year's number one, Lionel Messi, dropped to third. The football players who were the top three last year all dropped down the list due to corona-virus impacted salary cuts. For the first time since 2016 there are two women in the top 100 list, Naomi Osaka (29th) and Serena Williams (33rd).

Below is the top 10 of the highest earning sportspeople for 2020, taken from the annual list “The World's 100 Highest-Paid Athletes” published by Forbes magazine in June 2020. 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, 2019 to June 1, 2020. 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 2020

Rank Name Sport Nationality Earnings ($ million) Previous Year
1 Roger Federer Tennis Switzerland 106.3 5
2 Cristiano Ronaldo Soccer Portugal 105 2
3 Lionel Messi Soccer Argentina 104 1
4 Neymar Soccer Brazil 95.5 3
5 LeBron James Basketball USA 88.2 8
6 Stephen Curry Basketball USA 74.4 9
7 Kevin Durant Basketball USA 63.9 10
8 Tiger Woods Golf USA 62.3 11
9 Kirk Cousins American Football USA 60.5 >100
10 Carson Wentz American Football USA 59.1 >100

Next on the list were: Tyson Fury, Russell Westbrook, Lewis Hamilton, Rory McIlroy, Jared Goff, Conor McGregor, James Harden, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder.

Roger FedererRoger Federer, the first tennis player to rank No. 1

Highest Ranked For Each Sport in 2020

The highest ranked athlete from each sport is listed below. This year 10 different sports were represented on the list, with 35 NBA players being the most numerous, though the 31 NFL players on the list took home the most money thanks to their season being largely unaffected by the coronavirus.

Overall Rank Name Sport earning ($ million)
1 Roger Federer Tennis 106.3
2 Cristiano Ronaldo Soccer 105
5 LeBron James Basketball 88.2
8 Tiger Woods Golf 62.3
9 Kirk Cousins American Football 60.5
11 Tyson Fury Boxing 57
13 Lewis Hamilton Auto Racing 54
16 Conor McGregor MMA 48
57 Clayton Kershaw Baseball 27.3
66 Virat Kohli Cricket 26

source: from “The World's 100 Highest-Paid Athletes” published by Forbes magazine in June 2020.

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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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