(CNN) – Despite the coronavirus pandemic shrinking sports leagues and forcing athletes to go on hiatus for much of 2020, the combined earnings of the 10 highest-paid sports stars of 2021 fell just short of the all-time record set in 2018.
The mixed martial arts fighter Conor mcgregor led the Forbes top 10 for the first time in his career after making $ 180 million in the past 12 months, with this year’s top 10 combined earnings of $ 1.05 billion, just shy of the $ 1.060 total. million in 2018.
Most of the Irish boxer’s earnings come from the sale of his majority stake in the Proper No. Twelve whiskey brand for $ 150 million.
“This year, McGregor delivers the winning shot, leveraging his unrivaled popularity in mixed martial arts to build a lucrative business outside of the UFC Octagon,” Forbes wrote.
“Adding in his endorsements, McGregor earned $ 158 million off the field in the past 12 months, becoming the third athlete, after Roger Federer and Tiger Woods, to earn more than $ 70 million off the field in a single year while continues to compete actively.
Soccer stars Lionel Messi ($ 130 million) and Cristiano Ronaldo ($ 120 million) came in second and third, respectively, and NFL quarterback Dak Prescott ($ 107.5 million) came in at fourth place. Only five other athletes – Federer, Floyd Mayweather, Neymar, Manny Pacquiao and Woods – had previously made more than $ 100 million in a year.
LeBron James finished in fifth place and became the NBA’s highest-earning player in 2021, with $ 96.5 million. The 36-year-old recently became an investor in the Fenway Sports Group, which owns Premier League Liverpool and MLB’s Boston Red Sox.
Brazilian footballer Neymar ranks sixth after earning $ 95 million and Roger Federer, despite being sidelined for much of the year with injury, is seventh after earning $ 90 million from his sponsorships.
Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton ($ 82 million), NFL quarterback Tom Brady ($ 76 million) and NBA star Kevin Durant ($ 75 million) round out the top 10, which in The whole won 28% more than the top 10 last year, even though the sports calendar was affected by the pandemic.