Highest Paid Athletes 2011

The World’s Top-Earning Athletes

This year’s Forbes SportsMoney 50-50 athlete earnings totals are derived from salaries, bonuses, prize money, appearance fees, licensing and endorsement income between May 2010 and May 2011.

The Magazine did not deduct taxes or agents’ fees. The 50 highest-paid athletes earned a combined $1.4 billion, or $28 million on average.

No. 1: Tiger Woods

Sport: golf

May 2010 to May 2011 Earnings: $75 million

Net Worth: $500 million – As of September 2010, according to Forbes

Age: 35

Though woods has failed to win tournaments or sign new sponsorship deals since his November 2009 car crash and the infidelity scandal that followed, he remains the highest-paid athlete in the world. Retaining two valuable partners, Nike and Electronic Arts, both of which built businesses with Woods as a centerpiece.


No. 2: Kobe Bryant

Sport: basketball

May 2010 to May 2011 Earnings: $53 million

Net Worth: $140 million – As of May 2009, according to Forbes

Age: 32

The most valuable NBA player recently signed on as pitchman for Mercedes-Benz’s Smart Car brand in China. His $24.8 million salary during the 2010-2011 season was $4 million more than any other player.


No. 3: LeBron James

Sport: basketball

May 2010 to May 2011 Earnings: $48 million

Age: 26

James received a minor stake in Fenway Sports Group-owned soccer club Liverpool in April 2011 after his partnership with FSG to manage his business interests. Having #1 basketball shoe on the market, his jersey was the NBA’s bestseller this season, and he has the


No. 4: Roger Federer

Sport: tennis

May 2010 to May 2011 Earnings: $47 million

Age: 29

With 10 major deals including Nike, Credit Suisse, Rolex and Wilson, Federer commands the most impressive endorsement portfolio in sports.


No. 5: Phil Mickelson

Sport: golf

May 2010 to May 2011 Earnings: $46.5 million

Age: 40

Earned a deal as a spokesman for Amgen and Pfizer, makers of Enbrel.


No. 6: David Beckham

Sport: Football

May 2010 to May 2011 Earnings: $40 million

Net Worth: £135 million or $219m – As of May 2011, according to Sunday Times Rich List

Age: 36

Beckham served as an ambassador during London’s 2012 Olympic Games bid process, in May 2011 he signed awith Samsung to become the company’s global brand ambassador for the Games.


No. 7: Cristiano Ronaldo

Sport: Football

May 2010 to May 2011 Earnings: $38 million

Age: 26

Using social media to expand his brand. With 26 million Facebook fans, twice as many as any other athlete and 3 million Twitter followers.


No. 8:Alex Rodriguez

Sport: Baseball

May 2010 to May 2011 Earnings: $35 million

Age: 35


No. 9: Michael Schumacher

Sport: Racing

May 2010 to May 2011 Earnings: $34 million

Age: 42

Return to Formula 1 racing in 2010 did not go as planned as he finished a disappointing ninth in the overall standings but his earnings are boosted by a strong endorsement portfolio that includes DVAG, Jet Set, Navy Boot, Audemars Piguet, Schuberth and Rosbacher.


No. 10: Lionel Messi

Sport: Football

May 2010 to May 2011 Earnings: $32.3 million

Age: 23

With annual salary of $16 million, the Argentina pro footballer has recently built up his endorsement portfolio, which now includes Adidas, PepsiCo, Konami, Audemars Piguet, Chery and AirEuropa.


No. 11: Fernando Alonso

Sport: Racing

May 2010 to May 2011 Earnings: $32 million

Age: 29

Alonso has the highest salary of any F1 driver, and finished second to Sebastian Vettel in last year’s championship standings. In May Alonso extended his driving contract with Ferrari through 2016.


No. 12:Rafael Nadal

Sport: Tennis

May 2010 to May 2011 Earnings: $31.5 million

Age: 24

Nadal earned $10.5 million in prize money over the last 12 months.


No. 13 (tie) Tom Brady

Sport: football (NFL)

May 2010 to May 2011 Earnings: $31 million

Age: 33

The two-time league MVP signed a $72 million 4 year contract extension in September 2010 with the Patriots making it NFL’s richest deal on an annual basis.


No. 13 (tie) Valentino Rossi

Sport: Racing

May 2010 to May 2011 Earnings: $31 million

Age: 32


No. 15: Lewis Hamilton

Sport: Racing

May 2010 to May 2011 Earnings: $30 million

Net Worth: £50 million or $82m – As of May 2011, according to Sunday Times Rich List

Age: 26

Have a deal with Reebok that is worth $4 million annually, but most of his promotional rights are controlled by his race team, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes.


No. 16: Derek Jeter

Sport: Baseball

May 2010 to May 2011 Earnings: $29 million

Age: 36


No. 17: Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Sport: Racing

May 2010 to May 2011 Earnings: $28.5 million

Age: 36


No. 18: Yao Ming

Sport: Basketball

May 2010 to May 2011 Earnings: $27.7 million

Age: 30


No. 19 Dwight Howard

Sport: Basketball

May 2010 to May 2011 Earnings: $27.6 million

Age: 25


No. 20: Dwyane Wade

Sport: Basketball

May 2010 to May 2011 Earnings: $26.2 million

Age: 29

Wade made $14.2 million during the 2010-11 season, $300,000 less than his new teammates, after accepting to take a reduced salary to accommodate Chris Bosh and LeBron James under the NBA’s salary cap.


No. 21 Peyton Manning

May 2010 to May 2011 Earnings: $26.1 million

Sport: Football (NFL) , Age: 35

No. 22 Ichiro Suzuki

May 2010 to May 2011 Earnings: $26 million

Sport: Baseball , Age: 37

No. 23 Carmelo Anthony

May 2010 to May 2011 Earnings: $25.1 million

Sport: Basketball , Age: 26

No. 24 (tie) Kaka

May 2010 to May 2011 Earnings: $25 million

Sport: Football , Age: 29

No. 24 (tie) Manny Pacquaio

May 2010 to May 2011 Earnings: $25 million

Sport: Boxing , Age: 32

No. 26 Jeff Gordon

May 2010 to May 2011 Earnings: $24.9 million

Sport: Racing , Age: 39

No. 27 Ronaldinho

May 2010 to May 2011 Earnings: $24.7 million

Sport: Football , Age: 31

No. 28 Amar’e Stoudemire

May 2010 to May 2011 Earnings: $24.5 million

Sport: Basketball , Age: 28

No. 29 Maria Sharapova

May 2010 to May 2011 Earnings: $24.2 million

Sport: Tennis, Age: 24

No. 30 Wayne Rooney

May 2010 to May 2011 Earnings: $24.1 million

Sport: Football , Age: 25

[See full list on Forbes.com]

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