Forbes publishes a large range of lists each year, including one for athletes. The list of the highest-paid athletes in the world is calculated based on earnings derived from salaries, bonuses, prize money, endorsements and licensing income between June one year until June the following year, and does not deduct for taxes or agents' fees. See also a similar list published by Sports Illustrated (2004-2014), and Sportico (2021+).
List of Lists
Here are all of the annual lists of the world's highest-paid athletes since the first list published by Forbes in 1990. In 2002, they changed the reporting period from the full calendar year to June-to-June, and consequently there is no list for 2001.
Top Paid Athlete for Each Year
Here are the top earners in the world of sports for each year that Forbes magazine has made such a list. What is evident is that being named Michael or Tiger is good for making money in sports. For the complete list of top-10 athletes from each year, click on the year number. There is also a list of the top paid women for each year.
|Year||Name||Sport||earnings (USD$ million)|
|2023||Cristiano Ronaldo||Football (Soccer)||136|
|2017||Cristiano Ronaldo||Football (Soccer)||93|
|2016||Cristiano Ronaldo||Football (Soccer)||88|
|2000||Michael Schumacher||Auto Racing||59|
|1999||Michael Schumacher||Auto Racing||49|
Other Forbes Earning Lists
- Highest Paid Athletes of All-Time (2016)
- Highest Paid Athletes of All-Time (2017)
- Highest Paid Athletes of the Decade (2010-2020)
- Richest Sporting Events In The World (2011)
- Who is ranked highest of the highest paid? Michael Jordan was a regular on top of earlier top 10 lists, while Tiger Woods has dominated more recently, being the topped ranked athlete from 2002 to 2011, and in 2013. See our analysis of all of the lists between 1990 and 2010, ranking the athletes who have appeared the most on the top paid athlete lists.
- We determined which sports were most prevalent on these lists by rating the sport that the person is involved with instead of person themselves. Although Tiger Woods has dominated the list recently, basketball is ranked higher than golf. See the complete analysis table of sports rankings.
- Athletes from the USA have dominated the lists, 42 athletes of the 60 that have made the list from 1990-2010 were from the USA. See Analysis of the Nationalities on the Lists.
- Michael Jordan has appeared on 17 of these top 10 lists (6 times in top position) and Tiger Woods has appeared on 16 of the lists (top position 11 times)
- The only female to make the top-10 highest paid athlete list so far is Monica Seles in 1992, when she was ranked 10th.
- On the first published list in 1990, boxers took up the first three positions of the highest paid athletes. In 2015, they were in the top two positions.
- 2019 was the first time that soccer players ranked as the top three earners in sports since Forbes' first list in 1990.
- In 2020, Roger Federer became the first tennis player to rank No. 1 since the list was first created in 1990.
- Analysis of the Forbes top 10 highest paid athletes, based on athlete, sport and nationality.
- Forbes have also produced (since 2016) a list of the highest paid athletes of all time
- See also the Forbes list of the Richest Sporting Events In The World (2011)
- Sports Illustrated Top Paid Lists.
- Sportico Top Paid Athlete Lists
- Highest paid sportswomen
- Most popular athletes of the world
- Other world sport lists
Commenting is closed on this page, though you can read some previous comments below which may answer some of your questions.
- i wish to know the position samuel eto holds in the list of the richest or highest paid athletes, thanks for ur info. (Ntui terrence ndip, 2013)
- He was number 100
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