Jun 2, 2020 - Sports

Roger Federer tops highest-paid athletes list

Data: Forbes; Table: Axios Visuals
Data: Forbes; Table: Axios Visuals

The world's top 100 highest-paid athletes earned a combined $3.6 billion this year, which is down 9% from last year due to the coronavirus and marks the first decline since 2016, per Forbes' latest ranking.

Roger Federer took the No. 1 spot, edging past Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to become the first tennis player to top the rankings. He drew $100 million in endorsements from Uniqlo, Mercedes-Benz and others.

  • Naomi Osaka (#29) and Serena Williams (#33) both made the top 100, the first time since 2016 that multiple women were featured (Williams and Maria Sharapova).
  • Athletes from 21 countries made the cut, with the U.S. leading the way (68), followed by the U.K. (5), Spain (4), France (3), Brazil (2), Germany (2) and Japan (2). 14 other countries had one athlete each.

The big picture: "While more NBA players made the list than any other sport, NFL players had the best year as a group thanks to the season's late-summer start that has left them unaffected by the pandemic," Forbes' Kurt Badenhausen writes.

  • "In contrast, MLB players were the hardest hit following the postponement of Opening Day in March: only one professional baseball player, Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw, made the cut, down from 15 in 2019."

Sport-by-sport breakdown:

  • Basketball: 35
  • Football: 31
  • Soccer: 14
  • Tennis: 6
  • Boxing: 4
  • Golf: 4
  • Racing: 3
  • Baseball: 1
  • MMA: 1
  • Cricket: 1
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