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Forbes releases list of world's highest-paid athletes for 2021

Irish mixed martial artist, boxer and businessman, Connor McGregor is the highest paid athlete in the world according to the Forbes highest paid athletes list for 2021

Conor McGregor

Conor McGregor (Source: UFC)


Kaustub Bharadwaj

Updated: 7 Sep 2021 2:51 PM GMT

Irish mixed martial artist, boxer and businessman, Connor McGregor is the highest-paid athlete in the world according to the Forbes highest-paid athletes list for 2021. Football superstars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are second and third on the list respectively. The top 10 also includes a third footballer Neymar on the list.

The top 10 has two American footballers Tom Brady and Dak Prescott and two basketballers LeBron James and Kevin Durant. It also includes tennis legend Roger Federer and F1 star Lewis Hamilton. The highest-paid female athlete is tennis star Naomi Osaka at number 12 in the world.

The pandemic has had a big dent in the sports industry. It has reduced the amount of money earned by sports and teams. However, this does not seem to have had much impact on the amount of money paid to the top superstars of the sport.

The cutoff for making the top 50 on the Forbes list was 28.5 million dollars in 2020 and 34 million dollars in 2021. The amount of money had gone down in 2020 and has gone back up this year.

McGregor had a total earning of 180 million dollars. Out of the 180 million, 22 million is from on-field earnings and 158 million from off-field earnings. Only 12.2% of his money was from on-field earnings which is the second-lowest percentage in the top ten.

The only person whose on-field earnings is a smaller percentage of their overall earnings is Roger Federer who could not play much tennis this year due to his injury.

There are four athletes who have earned more than 100 million dollars this year. They are McGregor, Messi, Ronaldo and American footballer Dak Prescott. Prescott is the athlete who got the most money from on-field earnings which are 97.5 million dollars.

That is over 90% of his total earnings which is the highest percentage of anyone in the top ten. Messi earned 97 million dollars in on-field earnings and 33 million from off-field earnings. Ronaldo got 70 million dollars in on-field earnings and 50 million in off-field earnings.

List by Forbes

The highest-paid female athlete, Naomi Osaka got 60 million in overall earnings this year. She and tennis legend Serena Williams who is 28th on the list are the only two women in the top 50.

Out of the top 50 athletes, there are people from 16 different countries. There are 15 newcomers in the top 50 who were not on the list last year. The average age of the top 50 is 31. The top 50 athletes include 18 American footballers, 13 basketballers and 8 football players. It also includes 4 tennis players, 3 golfers, 2 automobile racers and one athlete each from Boxing and Mixed Martial Arts.

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