New York: Forbes compiled a list of world’s 100 highest-paid athletes and no women feature on it.
With the India cricket captain earning a whopping $24 million, Virat Kohli is among the world’s highest-paid athletes, according to ‘World’s Highest-Paid Athletes 2018′ compilation. American boxing champion Floyd Mayweather, 41, topped the charts at $285 million.
Mayweather heads the world’s highest-paid athletes for the fourth time in seven years, thanks to a $275 million payday for his August boxing match against UFC star Conor McGregor.
Forbes said tennis’ female sportspersons Li Na, Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams were list regulars but Li retired in 2014 and Sharapova is still dealing with the aftermath of a 15-month suspension for using a banned substance.
Williams was the only woman to feature in the top 100 in 2017, but her prize money dropped from $8 million to $62,000 this year after she gave birth to her daughter, Alexis, in September.
Argentine professional footballer Lionel Messi is ranked second in the list, followed by soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo.
Messi’s annual salary and bonus exceeded $80 million, making him the highest-paid player on the pitch this year. He ranks second overall with $111 million, including $27 million through endorsement deals with Adidas, Gatorade, Pepsi and Huawei. Ronaldo’s $108 million haul over the past 12 months trails only Mayweather and Messi.
Brazilian soccer player Neymar is the third soccer star in the top five. He jumps 13 spots to fifth with an income of $90 million, including $19 million from endorsement partners.
Kohli, the only sportsperson from India to be featured in the list, is ranked 83rd.
Kohli, 29, is not just cricket-crazy India’s biggest name but is also one of the most popular athletes in the world, “boasting more Twitter followers (25 million-plus) than all but three active sports stars”, Forbes said.
This year the Indian national cricket board ‘The Board of Control for Cricket in India’ named Kohli as one of just five players to receive the newly-created A+ contracts, which guarantee an annual retainer of more than $1 million, it said.
“Yet, like the Indian cricket mega-stars who have come before him, Kohli’s big payday comes off the pitch” where he’s partnered with top brands such as Puma, Pepsi, Audi and Oakley, Forbes said.
This year 40 NBA players made the cut in Forbes’ annual look at the world’s 100 highest-paid athletes, breaking the record of 32 set last year by hoopsters.
NBA’s top earner LeBron James banked $85.5 million, including endorsements, over the last 12 months to rank sixth among the highest-paid athletes.
Others on the list are American basketball player LeBron James (6), Tennis star Roger Federer (7), golfer Tiger Woods (16), tennis player Rafael Nadal (20) and golfer Rory McIlroy (26).
Forbes said it was harder than ever to qualify for the 100 highest-paid athletes, with the cutoff up $1.5 million to $22.9 million. The top 100 earned $3.8 billion, a 23% jump over last year.
Salaries and prize money are up significantly, but endorsement earnings fell for the second straight year to $877 million as companies watch their sports marketing budgets.
The top 100 has an international flavour with athletes from 22 countries, but Americans dominate the action with 66 making the cut thanks to sky-high salaries in baseball, basketball and football. Those three sports had a combined 72 entries, Forbes added.