Sport Sport Focus Poor showing by Aussies in sport’s ‘Richest 100’ list

Poor showing by Aussies in sport’s ‘Richest 100’ list

Jason Day has endured a difficult 12 months. Photo: Getty
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Not one Australian athlete and only one woman has featured in the 2017 edition of Forbes’ sporting rich list, which reveals the world’s highest-paid athletes and their truly staggering salaries.

Golfer Jason Day was the only Aussie in the top 100 of the 2016 edition but this year is nowhere to be seen.

Day sat equal 69th last year, with earnings of $A35.1 million, but does not feature on the 2017 list after battling form and injuries.

And even though basketballer Patty Mills seems set to cash in with a new big-money NBA contract, that seems unlikely to secure him a place in the top 100 earners in 2018.

The top 10

Just like he was last year, Real Madrid and Portugal soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo tops the list.

According to Forbes, his annual earnings increased from $US88 million to $US93million.

Cristiano Ronaldo tops the list, raking in $93 million. Photo: Getty

There was a new player in at No.2, with Cleveland Cavaliers basketball star LeBron James (yearly earnings of $US86.2 million) overtaking Barcelona forward Lionel Messi ($US80 million).

Tennis ace Roger Federer remained in fourth position, despite his salary and winnings accounting for just $US6 million of his salary.

The Swiss maestro, who won the 2017 Australian Open, raked in an extraordinary $US58 million in endorsements – more than any other player.

Basketballer Kevin Durant stayed fifth despite being on more money at NBA outfit Golden State Warriors, but the five athletes behind him were not in the top 10 last year.

Andrew Luck (American football, yearly earnings of $US50 million), Rory McIlroy (golf, $US50 million), Stephen Curry ($US47.3 million, basketball), James Harden ($US46.6 million, basketball) and Lewis Hamilton ($US46 million, motorsport) rounded out the top 10.

Where are the women?

Last year there were just two women in the top 100, and in 2017, that number was reduced to one.

Serena Williams celebrates at Wimbledon. Photo: Getty

Serena Williams is flying the flag, coming in at 51st with estimated yearly earnings of $US27 million.

That number could fall even further next year given Williams’ hiatus from the tennis tour with pregnancy.

There are five tennis players ahead of Williams on the list – Federer (fourth), Novak Djokovic (16th), Japanese star Kei Nishikori (26th), Rafael Nadal (33rd) and Andy Murray (40th).

Williams’ lone ally in the 2016 list was Maria Sharapova, who was the highest-paid female athlete in the world for 11 years running.

Her ranking nose-dived to 88th last year, and, as a result of her drug ban, Sharapova fell out of the top 100 altogether in the 2017 edition.

That was due to the loss of many of her endorsement deals.

Which sport pays the best?


Of the top 100, 32 were NBA players – a figure that reflects the growing global interest in the competition.

A new mega-rich TV contract, which lifted the league’s salary cap, is to thank. The NBA had just 18 members of the top 100 in 2016.

One sport has never had so many athletes in the top 100, with the NBA’s record eclipsing the NFL’s mark of 30 in 2012.

Baseball had the most members last year, with 26, but that number dropped to 22 – and, tellingly, none were in the top 20.

While basketball and baseball topped the lists, there was plenty of representation for American football (15), soccer (nine) and tennis (nine).

Other sports in the top 100 were racing (five), golf (five) and boxing (three), with athletics, MMA and cricket being represented by Usain Bolt, Conor McGregor and Virat Kohli respectively.

Of the 100 athletes, 63 were Americans, while six came from the UK and, perhaps surprisingly, five from the Dominican Republic, where baseball is almost the national religion.

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