Highest paid athletes: Forbes list

Updated: Aug 18 2013, 16:44pm hrs
Tiger Woods
The focus may be on the World Championships in Moscow but track and field athletes occupy the bottom rung when it comes to earnings. Here, according to Forbes, are the highest paid sportspersons on the planet

Women

Maria Sharapova

Total earnings: $29 million

She has lucrative contracts with sponsors Nike and Head, and her $26.7 million in career prize money ranks third all-time behind the Williams sisters.

Serena Williams

Total earnings: $20.5 million

The worlds number one has endorsement contracts with Nike, Wilson, Gatorade and OPI. She also has equity deals with HSN, Sleep Sheets, Mission and the Miami Dolphins. At the rate she is winning tournaments, she should soon be number one in earnings as well.

Li Na

Total earnings: $18.2 million

Li became the first Asia-born tennis player to win a Grand Slam singles event. She has endorsement deals with Babolat, Nike, Samsung, Rolex and Mercedes, as well as multiple Chinese companies.

Victoria Azarenka

Total earnings: $15.7 million

Between June 2012 and June 2013, Azarenka won $7.9 million in prize money, a single-year record for a female athlete in any sport. Her endorsement deals include Nike, Wilson, American Express, Six Star Pro Nutrition, InstaForex, Citizen and Red Bull.

Danica Patrick

Total earnings: $15 million

The only non-tennis star in the top five, Patrick races full-time in the Nascar Sprint Cup series and is currently the only female driver in the sport. She appears in celebrity commercials for Go Daddy, the primary sponsor of her Sprint Cup car.

MEN

Floyd Mayweather

Total earnings: $85 million

Called Money Mayweather, the American boxer is the worlds highest-paid athlete. He has been a part of the four biggest non-heavyweight pay-per-view events in boxings history. Mayweather maximises his earnings by also acting as his own fight promoter through his company Mayweather Promotions.

Manny Pacquiao

Total earnings: $62 million

The Filipino sensation is a boxing superstar with each of his last five fights generating at least one million pay-per-view buys. He has expanded his endorsement reach by signing deals with Monster Energy and Hennessy. His longtime partners include Nike and Hewlett-Packard.

Tiger Woods

Total earnings: $59.4 million

Tiger Woods has come roaring back after a prolonged slump and his recent wins have made up for the loss of sponsors like Tag Heuer and Gillette, ensuring he remains one of the worlds highest-paid athletes, thanks largely to his Nike deal.

Lebron James

Total earnings: $53 million

Lebron King James is the NBAs biggest star and its biggest endorsement star, thanks to deals with Nike, McDonalds, Coca-Cola, State Farm, apart from Dunkin Donuts and Baskin Robbins in Asia.

Roger Federer

Total earnings: $52.7 million

That famed backhand may be losing steam but he has the most impressive endorsement portfolio in sports, with nine sponsors that collectively pay him more than $30 million annually, including long-term deals with Nike, Rolex, Wilson and Credit Suisse. He also commands more than $1 million per exhibition event.

NB: In contrast, Indias cricket captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, with earnings of $31.5 million, is ranked at 16th place on Forbes list of highest-paid athletes, much higher than Usain Bolt, who ranks a lowly 40 on the list with total earnings of $24.2 million.