Boxer Manny Pacquiao and baseball star Alex Rodriguez top the list of the world’s highest paid athletes, according to new data compiled by ESPN.
ESPN tracked annual salaries—the base pay the players received for their most recent season or calendar year (endorsements and other sources of income were excluded) across 182 nations and 17 sports, from baseball and basketball to badminton and cricket. Salary data was collected from “multiple sources, including leagues, agents, consulates, embassies, sports federations, cultural centers and the U.N.”
Wake up America: It’s not football, baseball, basketball, or even NASCAR that accounts for the lion’s share of sports superstars: 114 of the 184 best-paid athletes in the world play soccer—almost seven times more than the next runner up (basketball, with 18 uber-rich players). For the rest, there are 12 baseball players, six auto-racers, five golfers, five football players, four cricketeers, three boxers, and three track and field contestants. Rugby and tennis each contribute two competitors and there is one representative each from badminton, cycling, motorcycle racing, sumo wrestling, and yachting. (more…)