The year 2020 has been difficult for everyone. Most of the sportspersons were also sidelined or they were playing for less pay. Their events were happening without the audience due to the covid bubble designed to tackle the pandemic.
Overall, Covid-19 reduced sports earnings by billions of dollars. But it did not stop the world-known sports personalities from earning a hefty amount. Forbes released a list of top 10 athletes based on their earnings in the last 12 months. And surprisingly, they earned $1.05 billion that is 28% more than last year’s top earners. Boxer Conor McGregor tops the earners’ list.
McGregor Leads Forbes Top Earners List
As per the Forbes list, the top 10 listed players earned $1.05 billion in the last 12 months. It is not only more than the last year’s earning but it is also a few million short of the $1.06 billion that is the highest earning so far in a year, recorded in 2018.
In 2018, a total earning spike happened due to the immense popularity of Floyd Mayweather, the boxing giant. He contributed $285 million to the total earnings of the year 2018. His fight against Conor McGregor was one of the costliest events of 2017. He earned pay per view in that fight.
This year, McGregor knocked out everyone to lead the top earners’ list. He collected a total of $180 million to rule the list. Most of his earnings came from his majority stake in whiskey brand Proper No. Twelve to Proximo Spirits for $150 million.
Forbes has considered the earnings between 1 May 1, 2020, to May 1, 2021, to prepare the current list. 32-year-old McGregor appeared a second time in the list of top earners. In 2018, he earned $99 million to secure the fourth rank on the list. McGregor wants to utilize his income in buying a football club. Recently in a tweet, he showed interest in buying Manchester United, the most valuable team of the Premier League.
In 2020, sports events were either suspended or they provided limited income to the sports stars. Then how they earned such a huge amount? Well, most of their earnings came off the field. They earned huge money from different endorsements and other events.
First rank holder McGregor also earned $158 million outside of his fighting career. That is a huge earning off the field. As per old records, he became the third athlete to earn more than $70 million off the field in a single year. Roger Federer and Tiger Woods are the other two athletes who earned such amount off the field while actively competing.
Remaining Rank Holders in the Current Forbes List
In the current list of ten highest earners’ from the sports fraternity, four athletes earned $100 million+ each. That’s a record when compared with past years. It is surprising to see such a huge earning in a year without sports events.
Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and NFL quarterback Dak Prescott are the other three-sport stars who crossed the $100 million mark in 2020. They also occupied second, third, and fourth positions respectively in the latest Forbes list.
Last year, there was a big drama related to Messi and Barcelona when earlier tried to leave the club. Finally, he stayed with FC Barcelona but his contract became public and the media reported that his contract was worth $674 million. In the last 12 months, he earned $130 million in total. For the last two years, he is the second-highest-paid athlete in the world.
Cristiano Ronaldo, a football player with the highest social media fan following among sportspersons globally, occupies the third rank in the highest earner list. He earned a total of $120 million in the last 12 months.
Prescott, with $107.5 million, breaks the record for NFL players thanks to a $66 million signing bonus from the Dallas Cowboys. This earning earned him the fourth rank on the Forbes list.
LeBron James, American Basketball Player, ranks fifth with a total earning of $96.5 million. Neymar, one of the most popular footballers from Brazil, has earned $95 million in the last 12 months to occupy the sixth position in the current list.
Roger Federer($90 Million), Lewis Hamilton($82 Million), Tom Brady($76 Million), and Kevin Durant($75 Million) ranks seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth respectively in the current Forbes list based on last 12 months earning of sports stars.