Highest Paid Sports Stars And How They Spend Their Money

NBA Steve O Speak

For mere mortals, knowing how much the top sports stars in the world earn can be a jaw a dropping experience.  Across the board, there’s hardly a sport where the best of the best can’t cash in big time. And as players and athletes become savvier investors, they can sometimes earn more in endorsements than they do in salaries!


In 2019, to even crack the Top 100 highest paid sports stars in the world, they needed to earn at least $25m. Combined they earned over $4 billion between June 2018 and June 2019.


Over the weekend the much hyped bout between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder is estimated to have earned each fighter a staggering $38m each for their era-defining rematch at the MGM Grand. Wilder may have lost but I’m sure his newly inflated bank balance will provide some consolation.


But for all the time these guys spend earning the big bucks, they can spend it just as quickly.


Lionel Messi

Floyd Mayweather carried the crown as the world’s richest sport star in 2018, primarily on the back of his earnings fighting Conor McGregor. But for 2019, it was soccer super star Lionel Messi who topped the list on earnings of $127m, $35m of which came from endorsements.


Where Messi differs from his fellow soccer players is what he spends it on. Notoriously private, the Barcelona FC player isn’t flashy and even still owns and maintains his childhood home in Argentina even though nobody lives there any more.


He also has his own non-profit that helps disadvantaged children and frequently works with UNICEF.



Cristiano Ronaldo

Ronaldo, may frequently go toe-to-toe with Lionel Messi for soccer’s most prestigious accolades but win or lose he can always rely on the $108 million that he banks every year.


A master of self-promotion, CR7 is a branding machine and his range of clothing, shoes and fragrances add an estimated extra $47 million a year to his net worth. He even has a horse named after him called ‘Crseven’. We won’t see him running in the Grand National any time soon but hopefully the colt will make his debut soon and maybe Ronaldo will even watch him race.


Like a lot of sports stars, Ronaldo loves expensive cars. The ex-Premier League and Real Madrid FC star dropped a reported $18.7 million on a brand new Bugatti prototype last year.


It is the most expensive car ever made and will add to his collection, which is one of the most extensive in the sport.


LeBron James

He may have been pipped to the top of the highest earners by the boxers and footballers, but LA Laker LeBron James is the highest paid basketball star in the world.


Banking an incredible $89 million, two thirds of that is earned through endorsements and sponsorship.


But staying at the top of your game in one of the most competitive sports on the planet comes at a price. Which in LeBron’s case is rumored to be over $1 million a year on just his personal health. All those trainers, massage therapists, hyperbaric chambers, private chefs and cryotherapy sessions come at a cost.


Russell Wilson

Wilson comes in 6th on the World’s Top Paid stars but is top of the NFL earners. In April 2019, the Seahawks signed Wilson to a four-year, $140 million contract extension that made him the NFL’s highest-paid player.


Earning $89.5m in 2019, Wilson is also the CEO of brand management firm West2East Empire. He also launched a mobile gaming app called Tally, which is backed by investors like Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, and he started a fashion line called Good Man Brand.


But Wilson is a generous guy and has his own non-profit foundation and is regularly seen visiting sick kids in hospital. He also bought his mother a brand new house last year as a surprise and shared the video of it on Instagram.


Neymar Jnr.

The former Barcelona FC superstar hit the jackpot with a $600 million transfer deal to Paris Saint Germain, $350 million of which will be paid to him through his salary by 2022.


Known for his very lavish lifestyle, the Brazilian reportedly paid out over $10 mansion in Rio De Janeiro, purchased his own private jet for nearly $5 million and owns a yacht worth in excess of $4 million. And of course there’s that little matter of $20 million in back taxes!



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