Each time I see the amount sportsmen are getting paid every year, it makes me want to restart my life and dedicate myself to sports. I’m sure a lot of us feel the same way but since we cannot rewind our lives, we can at least gaze at the numbers and dream of spending it on things we love.
Professional sports have become incredibly profitable and well-paid profession over a few hundred years of modern professional athletics. Business magazines state that popularity is increasing enthusiastically year after year and it makes one wonder ‘Who is the world’s highest paid sportsman?’ So, let’s take a quick look at the top 5 highest paid sportsmen in the world.
Highest Paid Sportsman #1: Manny Pacquiao
Manny Pacquiao makes millions per fight and makes millions more through endorsements with Nike, McDonalds, and San Miguel Beer. He’s at number 1 on the list and sitting comfortably at $32 million. Manny Pacquiao acquires a position in the Time Magazine’s list of the World’s Most Influential People of 2009 for his boxing career and his influence over the Filipinos. Like that isn’t enough, a popular industrial magazine claims that he is the number 1 ‘pound-for-pound boxer’ in the world and the ‘Fighter of the Decade’. Manny Pacquiao took over the boxing spotlight last year with victories in two blockbuster fights against Oscar De La Hoya in December and Ricky Hatton in March that together generated more than $100 million in pay-per-view revenue in the U.S.
Highest Paid Sportsman #2: Alex Rodriguez
In spite of the fact that Alex Rodriguez used steroids, he is still considered to be one of the best all-round baseball players of all time. No wonder he steals the first position on the list of highest paid baseball players in the world. Alex Rodriguez doesn’t earn much off the field these days but makes the cut, thanks to his historic $275 million contract he signed with the Yankees for 10 years after the 2007 season. The deal paid Alex Rodriguez $27 million last year and is worth $32 million this season. He also got $1 million in January as part of the $10 million signing bonus in the deal. Seems like he could’ve made millions more had it not been for the steroid that ruined his reputation and made it virtually impossible for him to sign endorsement deals with the biggies.
Highest Paid Sportsman #3: Kimi Raikkonen
Though Kimi Raikkonen finished at a disappointing third in the World Championship standing in 2009 after he won the title in 2007, he still remains Formula One´s highest-paid driver in the world. He is been paid $26.3 million in salary, annually. 2009 was a little tough year for Kimi Raikkonen who sat on 10th place in the standings. Not a good sign though, Ferrari resigned Raikkonen in September to a one-year contract extension keeping the Finn behind the wheel for Ferrari through 2010. Kimi Raikkonen made his Rally racing debut in January 2009 despite having a contract to race for Ferrari in 2010. On 29 November 2011, it was announced that Räikkönen will be returning to Formula 1 in 2012, signing a two-year contract with Lotus.
Highest Paid Sportsman #4: Fernando Alonso
If you don’t know of Fernando Alonso already, he’s a Spanish Formula One driver for Ferrari. It doesn’t end there. He’s young, rich, and he gets to drive ‘Ferrari’s’ all day. Dream job? I think so. He’s pulling in an estimated $22.8 million in salary alone from Ferrari. This brings him to number 4 on the list highest paid sportsmen and at second position on the list of highest paid drivers. It seems Fernando lost the number to Kimi Raikkonen. Fernando took his first podium of the season with third at the Turkish Grand Prix, having run second for a time and was only passed by Mark Webber on lap 51 of 58. He already extended his contract with Ferrari for a further four years, until the end of 2016, prior to his home race in Spain. Well, that sounds like more Ferrari driving for Fernando Alonso.
Highest Paid Sportsman #5: Johan Santana
Who hasn’t heard of Johan Santana? Well, though he’s not the highest paid baseball player in the world, his annual salary fetches him over $21.6 million. Johan Santana currently is in a six year contract of $137.5 million, with a full no-trade clause. This brings Johan Santana to number 5 on the list of highest paid sportsmen in the world. The contract includes a $25 million 2014 club option with a $5.5 million buyout. Santana has been a two-time Cy Young Award winner with the Minnesota Twins and was also considered one of the best pitchers in baseball, with a pitch gamut that included an 88–94 mph fastball, generally considered his best pitch, and a slider. To mention something really personal of Santana, he warms-up on the song "Smooth" by Rob Thomas and Carlos Santana. That is definitely a catch.
All being said and done, long standing in the spotlight will often place you higher on the list. These sportsmen have certainly placed themselves on the list of highest paid sportsmen in the world by work and cunning, utilizing both athletic prowess and utilization of marketing and public relations to capitalize. Sportsmen are also able to fetch handsome dollars and endless popularity through other sources like endorsing products for Television ads and Magazine advertising.