September 14, 2019
In today’s world, it is a commonly accepted fact that sportspeople are often some of the highest earners out there. Not only will they be paid salaries but also have bonuses, prize money, endorsements and payments for appearances on top. However, the world of professional sport has not always been so lucrative. In fact, some of history’s richest sports stars might surprise you.
Looking at richest sports league data at Cash Lady would make you think that the fortunes of athletes are a modern phenomenon, but this is not quite the case. Legend has it that the sports stars of ancient times made great fortunes. For example, according to The Telegraph, the Roman chariot racer Gaius Appuleius Diocles, allegedly made 35,863,120 sesterces, which in today's money would be roughly the equivalent of $15 billion. If this is true, then that would make Diocles the highest-paid athlete of all time. Since the information from this period is, of course, not utterly reliable, this list will focus on athletes of the modern age. A note to all you Eagles fans out there, while this list is composed of a few different types of sports, none of the highest-earning baseball players quite make the cut.
Michael Jordan earned over $93.8 million from his time with the Chicago Bulls and the Washington Wizards. However, despite retiring from basketball in 2003, the earnings of this legendary player have kept growing. Jordan continued to elevate athletic endorsements, partnering with brands such as Nike to make his net worth $1.85 billion in 2017.
With career earnings said to be at $1.7 billion, Tiger Woods is another sports star who took advantage of brand partnerships to boost his net worth. Being one of the most iconic golfers of all time, Woods used his position to partner with companies such as American Express, EA Sports, General Motors and Nike, and the fees from such endorsements and paid appearances are said to compose most of his fortune.
Despite his death in 2016, the estate of Arnold Palmer still brings in millions of dollars every year, with over 400 stores across the globe selling Arnold Palmer branded apparel and merchandise. Forbes set Palmer’s career earnings at $1.4 billion. The sporting legend is regarded to have revolutionized sports marketing.
Jack Nicklaus, or, as he is otherwise known, Golden Bear, has earned his fortune not only from his impressive golfing career but his golf course design company, which is one of the biggest on the market. Nicklaus’s business empire does not stop at golf courses. In fact, it encompasses many different industries, from ice cream to real estate. All of which add to Nicklaus’ career earnings of $1.2 billion.
Despite his skiing accident in 2013, and his subsequent retirement, Schumacher remains one of the highest-paid athletes of all time, with career earnings of $1 billion. A legend of formula one, widely regarded as the all-time greatest driver, Schumacher is the only driver to have won seven F1 World Championships consecutively.