The Ultimate Alpha Male displays a combination of persistence, consistency and total commitment. Some are lucky enough to be blessed with an innate athletic ability, business prowess, and capacity to lead. It’s fair to say the ten men below elicit at least one or more of these traits. Each has dominated their respective disciplines and have earned the right to be paid millions doing what they love. A natural ability combined with absolute dedication and hard work has propelled each of them to the top echelon of world sport.
Here is a list of the 2015 (financial year) top ten highest paid athletes.
1. Floyd “Money” Mayweather
2015 earnings: $300 Million
Salary/Prize Money: $285 Million
Endorsement’s: $15 Million
Love him or hate him this guy can fight. His current record is 48-0 with 26 of those by way of knockout. We all know where the last of his big pay cheques came from – the once in a generation mega fight between he and Manny Pacquiao. Mayweather normally stays away from the endorsement dollar, however the MAYPAC bout earned him an extra $15 million thanks to Hublot, Burger King and FanDuel.
Floyd has one fight remaining on his 6 fight deal with Showtime, in which he intents to retire straight after.
After earning a cool $100 million in 2014, his 2015 earning smashed the previous record held by Tiger Woods in 2008 ($115 Million).
2. Manny Pacquiao
2015 Earnings: $160 Million
Salary/Prize Money: $148 Million
Endorsement’s: $12 Million
The MAYPAC bout didn’t just make Floyd Mayweather extremely rich, it also gave Pacquiao a once in a lifetime windfall; in fact, four times the amount he has ever received from a single fight. To put things in perspective, he earned only $23 Million – of his $160 Million total – from his bout against Chris Algieri earlier in the year. The Philippines congressman also has endorsement deals with Nike, Nestle, Footlocker & Wonderful Pistachios to make him the second highest paid sportsman of 2015.
3. Cristiano Ronaldo
2015 Earnings: $79.6 Million
Salary/Prize Money: $52.6 Million
Endorsement’s: $27 Million
The three-time – and reigning – FIFA best player in the world has scored 60 or more goals in each of the last four calendar years. All whilst averaging a goal a game for his club Real Madrid. He has a $50+ million a year salary (with bonuses) through 2018 to show for it. He’s also the world’s most popular athlete, with 102 million Facebook and 35 million Twitter followers. His commercial appeal has landed him mega sponsorships with Nike alongside establishing his own underwear and shirt line CR7.
Ronaldo’s 2015 earnings are down by $40 million from last year and has subsequently dropped one spot to third highest paid athlete. However, you can expect him to stay in the top ten for at least 5 more years.
4. Leonel Messi
2015 Earnings: $73.8 Million
Salary/Prize Money: $51.8 Million
Endorsement’s: $22 Million
The main man in Barcelona’s 2015 treble winning side, Messi earned himself a nice little pay rise of $9 Million from his 2014 salary. His superhuman talent is why the Korean heavyweight chaebol Samsung, cast him as superhero Iron Man in their ad to promote the Avengers film. It’s also why his main sponsor Adidas launched a Messi icon line of shoes and apparel which has exceeded company sales expectations, including in the U.S. He has also signed a mega media deal with Goal.com to be their exclusive contributor.
5. Roger Federer
2015 Earning’s: $67 Million
Salary/Prize Money: $9 Million
Endorsement’s: $58 Million
A true Alpha Male, Roger Federer is one of the nicest guys in world sport and a marketers dream. Earning a staggering $58 Million from endorsements alone, brand RF is definitely the closest thing to Jordan. After 17 years on the pro tour, Roger rounded out the year ranked #2 behind Novak Djokovic.
6. LeBron James
2015 Earnings: $64.8 million
Salary/Prize Money: $20.8 Million
Endorsement’s: $44 Million
“The Return of the King” – as they are saying in his hometown of Cleveland – is the only way to explain how big Lebron’s move back to his first NBA team (after a very successful stint at Miami Heat) really is. He has lead the Cavs to the NBA Finals for the first time in their history. After taking a slight pay cut to return to his roots, he still collected a cool $64.8 million; largely due to his commercial deals with Kia, Nike, Beats by Dre and Audemars Piguet.
7. Kevin Durant
2015 Earning’s: $51.4 Million
Salary/Prize Money: $19.1 Million
Endorsement’s: $35 Million
The four-time NBA scoring champ won his first MVP trophy in 2014 after leading the Oklahoma Thunder to the second best record in the NBA. The 2015-16 season is the final year on the $85 million contract he signed with the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2010. Durant inked a blockbuster 10-year deal with Nike in 2014, that could be worth up to $300 million including royalties. It is the richest endorsement deal of any active athlete. Nike is one of a dozen sponsors in Durant’s arsenal, which also includes BBVA, Sprint, Sonic, Panini, 2K Sports, Skullcandy and more.
8. Phil Mickelson
2015 Earning’s: $50.8 Million
Salary/Prize Money: $2.8 Million
Endorsement’s: $48 Million
If it was down to pure earnings on the field, Mickelson wouldnt even come close to the top ten. However, being a legend for over 2 decades in golf earns you the right to charge astronomical fees for rich business men to play a round with you. He earns over $40 Million annually from this as well as his endorsment deals with Callaway, Barclays, KPMG, Mobile and Rolex.
His $77 million in career prize money ranks second of all-time. Only behind Tiger Woods.
8. Tiger Woods
2015 Earning’s: $50.6 Million
Salary/Prize Money: $600k
Endorsement’s: $50 Million
On the course, 2015 was a flop for Tiger, making only 7 cuts in 13 events. Considering he made 142 straight cuts over 7 years ending in 2005, you could argue that his time as a dominant force on the course is well and truly over.
Woods did pick up new endorsement deals in 2015 with MusclePharm and India’s Hero motorcycles. Hero also signed on as the title sponsor of the golf event Woods hosts annually at the end of the year in Florida. Woods’ golf course-design business has also picked up after multiple blowups. The first Woods-designed course opened in 2014 in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. His first U.S. course is set to open outside of Houston in October. Woods is also working on courses in China and Dubai.
10. Kobe Bryant
2014 Earning’s: $49.5 Million
Salary/Prize Money: $23.5 Million
Endorsement’s: $26 Million
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