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The World’s Highest Paid Athletes

Maracana stadium, Forbes, Soccer

Floyd Mayweather has been cashing multi-million checks for his fights for more than a decade. He banked at least $25 million for each of his past nine bouts going back to 2007 when he defeated Oscar De La Hoya in the most watched fight in the history of boxing pay-per-view events. Mayweather has earned almost $400 million in the ring since he turned pro in 1996 after the Olympics, but he has never had a year like this past one.

Mayweather earned $105 million during the past 12 months for 72 minutes of work in the ring for fights against Canelo Alvarez and Marcos Maidana. The payday puts Mayweather atop Forbes’ annual list of the world’s highest-paid athletes for the second time in three years. Mayweather is the first athlete, besides Tiger Woods, to crack the $100 million earnings threshold (Michael Jordan, Michael Schumacher and Mike Tyson have also turned the trick on an inflation-adjusted basis).

LeBron James ranks third with earnings of $72.3 million. James is the NBA’s biggest endorsement star, thanks to deals with Nike, McDonald’s MCD -0.66%Coca-Cola , Upper Deck and others. Sales of his signature Nike shoes were tops among active players at $300 million in the U.S. during 2013, according to research firm SportsOneSource, and his jersey was the NBA’s best-seller. James also made millions from Apple AAPL -1.68%’s purchase of Beats by Dre for $3 billion. James had a very small equity stake in the company and made the brand a must-have accessory by outfitting the 2008 U.S. Olympic basketball team in Beijing in the high-priced headphones.

Lionel Messi ranks fourth at $64.7 million. His streak of four straight FIFA Ballon d’Or awards given to the world’s best soccer player was broken in January by Ronaldo. The two compete on the pitch as the stars of the sport’s two biggest clubs, Barcelona and Real Madrid. In May, Messi signed his seventh contract in 11 years with Barca. The deal is expected to slightly exceed Ronaldo’s pact on an annual basis. They also vie for sponsor dollars as the premier figures in the world’s biggest sport. Messi’s endorsement portfolio includes Adidas, Electronic Arts, Gillette, Herbalife , PepsiCo PEP -0.64% and Turkish Airlines.

Read more at Forbes.com.

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This entry was posted on June 13, 2014 by in Career and tagged , , , , , , , .
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