From left: Lionel Messi, Lebron James, Naomi Osaka. Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP via Getty Images (Messi); Patrick Smith/Getty Images (James); Mateo Villalba/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images (Osaka)

Who’s Winning the Money Game?

The world’s 50 highest-paid athletes made a combined $2.97 billion between May 2021 and May 2022, according to research by Forbes. That’s $200 million more than the record set the previous year. Why do you think on-the-field and off-the-field earnings vary so much in this chart?

*Naomi Osaka is the highest-paid woman on the list.

Source: Forbes. Numbers are before taxes and agents’ fees.

Combined on- and off-the-field earnings:

1. Lionel Messi Soccer $130m 
2. LeBron James Basketball $121.2m
3. Cristiano Ronaldo Soccer $115m
4. Neymar Soccer $95m
5. Stephen Curry Basketball $92.8m
6. Kevin Durant Basketball $92.1m
7. Roger Federer Tennis $90.7m
8. Canelo Àlvarez Boxing $90m
9. Tom Brady Football $83.9m
19. Naomi Osaka Tennis $59.2m (Naomi Osaka is the highest-paid woman on the list.)