The top 10 richest athletes of 2023

by Polly in Sports

February 5, 2024

8 minutes to read

10 athletes with the highest earnings in 2023

Athletes get paid to do their jobs just like anyone else. The size of their bag differs based on performance and stance in the industry. We'd like you to join us as we look at the athletes with the most significant salaries for 2023.

Some wonder why salaries differ for prominent league athletes if they're all in the same team or doing the same sport. The reality is that only some bring the x-factor or dominate the field to the point of becoming the best.

The better you are at your sport, the more recognisable your name is, and the bigger your bag.

The top 10 highest-paid athletes in 2023

1. Christiano Ronaldo

Christiano Ronaldo is a famous soccer player from Portugal. He earned an impressive $90 million off-field and a further $46 million on-field.

Ronaldo left Manchester United in November and joined Al Nassr, Saudi Arabia, in January. Kicking up his annual playing salary to around $75 million. On top of that, the soccer star generated various marketing opportunities in his new home.

Rumours have it that Ronaldo may be looking to return to Europe in the summertime. Still, with the shift from one team to the other, Ronaldo secured an impressive payout and established himself as the highest-paid athlete of 2023.

Ronaldo is a household name, which makes him an excellent choice for marketers. With over 850 million followers across his social platforms, he has a lot of influence. The star has many sponsorships, which rev up his income. Among the impressive sponsors is the cryptocurrency exchange Binance, which pushed his off-field earning total to $90 million.

2. Lionel Messi

Another soccer player makes his way into 2nd place on the list. Messi is 35 years old and originally from Argentina. For 2023, the man earned $130 million, of which $65 million is off-field and $65 million is on-field.

There are a lot of rumours and speculation regarding Messi's future, with many curious about what his next move will be. Some believe he will return to Barcelona, while others think he'll either join Ronaldo in Saudi Arabia or make his way to MLS with Inter Miami.

No matter his next move, Messi has a stable income playing on the field and with off-field endorsements and partnerships. Some of his biggest endorsements include Adidas, Budweiser, and PepsiCo.

A solid $20 million off-field income is driven by his partnership with Socios, the blockchain-based fan platform. Messi also recently launched his investment firm called Play Time.

3. Kylian Mbappe

Mbappe is an impressive 24-year-old soccer player from France. His 2023 earnings totalled $120 million, with $20 million off-field and $100 million on-field.

The player climbed an impressive 20+ spots, going from No. 35 on the top earners list to the top 10 in 2023. What's more impressive is that he is the only player under 30 to make it onto the list.

Mbappe is one of the highest-paid soccer players, which is well-deserved considering his impressive stats on the field. He is also the first player ambassador for the cryptocurrency-based fantasy game Sorare.

Mbappe is also an impressive, influential figure in the field. He reportedly had a dispute with the French Football Federation, refusing to participate in a photo shoot with the French national team. and objecting to endorsing some of the brands under squad contract. This led to the federation changing its outlook and announcing it would revise its agreement on player image rights. It's clear to see that Mbappe is an impressive figure on and off the field.

4. LeBron James

Whether you're a basketball fan or not, there are a couple of names you have heard of, such as Michael Jordan and Lebron James. Lebron is a 38-year-old Basketball player from the United States. He raked in an impressive amount of $119,5 million in 2023, with $75 million off the court and $44.5 million earned on the court.

Plenty of prominent athletes choose to expand their interest with investments and launching companies. LeBron is considered one of the athletes with the biggest entrepreneurial spirit. The player became the first active athlete certified billionaire via the Forbes list.

He also has an impressive endorsement list, including the sports nutrition company Ladder Supplements. The player also has a stake in the Fenway Sports Group and recently invested in a Major League Pickleball team, stating he wants to one day own his own NBA expansion team in LA.

5. Canelo Alvarez

Alvarez is a 32-year-old boxer from Mexico. The fighter earned a total of $110 million, of which $100 million was on-field and $10 million off-field.

Alvarez is one of the big names that rakes in millions of dollars every time he enters the ring. In 2023, he got into some very impressive fights with other big-time boxers, including Dmitry Bivol and Gennadiy Golovkin.

He has a couple of traditional endorsements, including a partnership with Hennesy and Michelob Ultra. He also signed with Excel Sports Management in September. The boxer also has his own clothing range, branded card, and a canned cocktail brand, VMC.

6. Dustin Johnson

This 38-year-old golfer from the United States earned around $107 million, of which $105 million comes from stepping on the field. Off-field, he earned around $5 million.

Dustin Johnson was the first star to enter LIV Gold in May 2022. He finished the tour with $35.6 million in prize money, including $18 million for winning the season-long individual championship. While it cost him a couple of sponsors, he also became the year's biggest earner.

He is currently focused on building the 4 Aces GC brand he captains and co-owns. With LIV, he rakes in around $3.3 million for five events.

7. Phil Mickelson

Another pro golfer, Phil Mickelson, raked $106 million in 2023. The 52-year-old golfer from the US got around $2 million off the field and sold $104 million on the field.

The previous year, Mickelson surpassed $1 billion in career pre-tax earnings. He has also shed many sponsors since joining the LVI Gold team. He is also the co-founder of For Wellness, a coffee supplement maker. He also recently invested in a large plot of land outside Phoenix.

8. Stephen Curry

Steph is a 35-year-old basketball player from the US playing for the Golden State Warriors. The point guard earned $100.4 million, of which $52 million was off-field and $48.4 million in-game.

Curry is one of the most loved players in the NBA and also the owner of 4 championship rings. This marks the first year his earnings topped $100 million, and his $48.1 million salary was the highest for the season. His salary is expected to increase to $50m+ in 2023-2024.

Curry lost one of his biggest sponsors when FTX collapsed. Since then, he has been part of a lawsuit accusing celebrity endorsers of misleading users with ads promoting the cryptocurrency exchange.

Despite that, Curry has partnered with Chase Bank and extended his partnership with Under Armour. Curry also has his shoe line, and recently, he invested in a VR platform, Gold+ and TMRW Sports, founded by Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy. When it comes to sports, Curry is an eager participant; when he's not on the basketball court, you can find him playing sports or trying other sports.

9. Roger Federer

This 41-year-old Swedish Tennis player brought in a solid $95.1 million, earning 9th place on the top 10 list. Off-field, he earned around $95 million; on-field, he brought in less than $1 million.

Federer recently retired from competitive tennis. Before walking away, he played a final match with Rafael Nadal at the Laver Cup. It's a sweet ending, considering he helped create the international team tournament 2017.

He keeps his vast range of partners despite saying goodbye to competitive tennis. Recently, he signed an agreement with the Swiss shoe company On. He also announced the licensing agreement for his RF brand with the eyewear creator Oliver Peoples.

10. Kevin Durant

The 34-year-old American basketball player slides into 10th place with $89.1 million in earnings for the year. Durant earned around $45 million on the court and $44.1 million off the court. In February 2023, Durant was traded from the Brooklyn Nets to the Phoenix Suns.

Aside from his on-court activity, the baller bought stakes in the Premier Lacrosse League, nutrition brand Happy Viking, League One Volleyball, and Athletes Unlimited. Not to mention his shares in ScorePlay and TMRW Sports.

The man has an impressive range of investments and is growing a media empire in Boardroom. We can always remember his sneaker deals with Nike, which also recently upgraded to a lifetime deal.

The top 10 list can change yearly with new players coming in at higher value or increasing with new partnerships and investments. For now, this is the list of top 10 earners for 2023. We'll bring you an updated list of top 2024 sports earners later in the year.

Article by Polly

CasinoWow Contributor

Hey guys, my name is Polina but my friends and colleagues call me Polly. I am truly passionate about online casino gaming and exploring the different online gambling experiences. I'm really into diving deep into topics and researching all the details. My aim is to gather the best information and write interesting articles for all the readers at CasinoWow.

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