How the World’s Most Elite Athletes Earn (and Spend!) Their Fortunes
We all know how some athletes are paid an absolute fortune. Many of them owe their wealth to big corporate sponsors and multi-million dollar contracts. But others have figured out how to parlay their athletic prowess into business deals and endorsements with leading global brands, eventually making much more money than they earn from their playing contracts alone.
Thus the all-important question: How do the richest sportspersons spend their big bucks? After all, when you’re earning millions to just show up at an event, it must be oh-so-tempting to just toss around the money with not a care in the world. From among 12,000 well-known athletes from 196 countries, You & I has devised a formula that combines the athlete’s fees and endorsements with their amazing lifestyle and social media following to create a list of six of the biggest stars and their spending habits. --- Anisha
Love him or hate him; Virat Kohli stinks of success. Whether one questions if he is a better player than Tendulkar or a better captain than Dhoni, we can certainly debate where he sits within the pantheon of great players. But one thing we can all agree on: He certainly represents the culmination of the evolution in batting, rather than a new age of batsmanship. And that says a lot about his talent.
Kohli first represented the city’s cricket team before making his first-class debut in 2006. He was captain of the Indian team at the 2008 Under-19 World Cup, which won us the World Cup victory. A few months later, he made his ODI debut for India against
Sri Lanka and soon established himself as a regular in the ODI as a middle-order batsman. He made his Test debut in 2011. Virat, who was part of the Indian squad that won the 2011
World Cup, reached the number one spot in the ICC ODI rankings for batsmen in 2013. He also found success in the Twenty20 format, and in 2014 and 2016 won the Man of the Tournament at the ICC World Twenty20. In 2014, the Delhi-based cricketer became the top-ranked T20I batsman, and continues to hold the position.
By 2012, Virat was appointed vice-captain of limited-overs and was appointed the Test captain after Dhoni stepped down from his position in 2014. In early 2017, the run-machine became the captain of the ODI team as well, following Dhoni’s retirement. Virat holds numerous Indian batting records, including the fastest batsman to score 5,000 ODI runs, the fastest ODI century, and the fastest to 10 ODI centuries. He is the second batsman in the world who has scored 1,000 or more ODI runs in four consecutive years. Touted as the best chaser in ODI cricket in the world, Kohli holds the records for the most runs in a single tournament in both the IPL and the World Twenty20. At the age of 28 and at the top of his game, the Arjuna Award winner is a wonderful batsman, and the captaincy is bringing out the best in him, too.
Cashing in Big Time
With an estimated net worth of $60 million, the star cricketer has reportedly purchased a 7,171-square-foot sea-view apartment for $6.3 million in Worli, Mumbai. Part of ‘Sky Bungalows,’ the flat features a palatial living room with both dining and seating areas, kid’s room, bedrooms with a sprawling bathroom, cigar room, a gym area, kitchen, and a staff's room along with a separate kitchen. Among Kohli’s passions in life is the love for automobiles, and the most marketable cricketer has quite a collection. This includes the A8L W12 Quattro, R8 V10, R8 LMX Limited Edition, Q7 4.2 TDI, Q7 45 TDI, and S6 from the Audi family.
Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar was a unique combination in cricket. An average built guy delivering a signature stance as soon as he walked on the field, he hit the ball with little effort for a classic straight drive, and was someone who played like a superstar throughout his career. But for many, he was the definition of the sport. His fans loved to chant his name, prayed for him, and believed that seeing him play was like a religious experience. And his opponents just couldn’t bring themselves to hate him, either. In short, he was nothing but a divine fusion of temperament and technique; the one who gave life and strength to this game.
Following his debut in 1989, Sachin went on to amass records by the dozens. He is the first batsman to score a double-century in an ODI, the only player to have scored 100 international centuries, and holds the record for scoring the most number of runs in both ODI and Test cricket. Tendulkar is also the only player in the game to complete more than 30,000 runs.
In 2002, Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack ranked him the second-greatest Test batsman and the second-greatest ODI batsman of all time, behind Don Bradman and Viv Richards, respectively. In 2003, the Master Blaster was named “Player of the Tournament” at the 2003 World Cup (WC). And in 2011, he was a part of the Indian team that won the World Cup, his first win in six WC appearances for the country.
In 1994, Sachin received the Arjuna Award – India’s highest sporting honour – for his outstanding sporting achievement, and then went on to earn the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award in 1997, and the Padma Shri and Padma Vibhushan awards in 1999 and 2008, respectively. He is also the youngest recipient of Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award. Besides this, Tendulkar won the 2010 Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for cricketer of the year at the ICC awards.
Cashing in Big Time
After a successful 24-year career, the Little Master hung up his bats in 2013, and continues to be a marketing force. With an estimated net worth of around $115 million, Sachin’s $1.2 million contract with Coca-Cola is worth more than most IPL players’ salaries. He also got over $1.1 million as an icon player and captain for the Mumbai Indians in the IPL. After playing for six years, he retired from the IPL, but currently serves as an icon and mentor for the team.
Tendulkar likes to travel in style: a Mercedes-Benz C36, a Nissan GT-R, and a Porsche Boxster are the most expensive cars parked in his garage. Apart from owning a fleet of luxury automobiles, Sachin’s owns a sprawling bungalow in Bandra. The cricketer hired a famed architect from Mexico to renovate the house, which is currently worth an astonishing $7.9 million.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni
In a country where cricket is the sporting religion, MSD has ensured that he continues to dominate the game. With an ability to read play even before he goes out to bat, Dhoni has won over those sceptics who questioned if he could ever be as successful as Sourav Ganguly. Today, with an estimated net worth of over $100 million from endorsement deals to Bollywood biopics, Dhoni’s outstanding career isn’t even close to being over. He is one athlete who is blessed to be loved by his nation. But then, if you were the captain of the team that won a cricket World Cup after 28 years, it would be sure to leave a billion people spellbound. And with that, Dhoni has effectively crossed the line that separates celebrity from a messiah.
It was in 2004 when MSD played his first One Day International (ODI) against Bangladesh. A year later, he played his first Test against Sri Lanka. By 2007 he had captained the Indian team in limited-overs formats, and then again in Test cricket in 2008. Since then, the immensely cool under pressure captain – who could easily switch between keeper and captain in the most stressful of situations – has become known as a true legend of the game.
The right-handed middle-order batsman and wicket-keeper holds numerous captaincy records, such as most back-to-back wins by an Indian captain in ODIs, and most wins by an Indian captain in ODIs and Tests. In 2007, Dhoni took over the ODI captaincy from Rahul Dravid, and led the team to its first-ever bilateral ODI series wins in New Zealand and Sri Lanka. But nothing can compare to the 2007 ICC World Twenty20, the CB Series of 2007–08, the 2010 Asia Cup, the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy, and hitting a six to lift the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup.
Shifting to the Test captaincy, he led the team to win the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in 2008, 2010, and 2013, and the series win in New Zealand and West Indies. It was under Dhoni’s captaincy in 2009that the Indian team reached the number one position for the first time in the ICC Test rankings. In 2013, India also became the first team in more than 40 years to whitewash Australia in a Test series. Coming to the shorter format, Dhoni captained the Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League, and lifted the trophy in 2010 and 2011, along with the 2010 and 2014 editions of Champions League Twenty20. He stepped down as India’s Test captain in 2014 and limited-overs captain in 2017.
Cashing in Big Time
Dhoni is not only famous for his exemplary performance in the game, but is equally known for his car and motorcycle collection. Dhoni’s passion for the expensive, rarest, fastest and unique bikes knows no boundaries. From vintage models to the latest editions, MSD owns more than a dozen sports and cruiser bikes, and rarely shies away from hitting the streets. Captain Cool, as he was popularly known, also owns a team in FIM Supersport World Championship, and has a stunning Kawasaki Ninja H2 and an X132 Hellcat. Probably the most famous car to be driven by him are the Ferrari 599 GTO, Hummer H2 and Porsche Boxster. The Dhonis – who shifted to Harmu Housing colony from MECON quarters in 2009 – now own a fort-like three-storied building. It has its own swimming pool, ultra-modern gym, and according to oneindia.com, the resident also has a five star hotel constructed inside the building. Naturally, the home has its own net practising field, too. Talk about a dream home.
Ever wonder what your life would be like if you had a net worth of $375 million? Ask Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo, who’s the current highest paid athlete in the world. The 32-year-old soccer player climbed to the top of the list in 2016 by earning $88 million, thus becoming the second individual from a team sport to do so since the introduction of Forbes rankings in 1990.
The Madeira-born Portuguese began his senior club career playing for Sporting CP, before signing with English giant Manchester United at age 18 in 2003. He helped United win three successive Premier League titles, the FA Cup, a UEFA Champions League title, and a FIFA Club World Cup. By age 23, Ronaldo had won FIFA World Player of the Year and Ballon d’Or awards. He continued to win the FIFA Ballon d’Or in 2013, 2014 and 2016, becoming the only European player in history to do so. In 2009, he joined Real Madrid for a transfer fee of $132 million, which made him the most expensive soccer player of all time.
In 2012 he became the first player in La Liga history to score 40 goals in two seasons, and 17 goals in the 2013-14 seasons. Apart from that, he holds the record for scoring 200 goals in La Liga, and being the only player in the history of football to score more than 50 goals every season for six consecutive occasions. Ronaldo also won one La Liga title, two Copas del Rey, two Champions League titles, two Club World Cups, and is the second-highest goal scorer in La Liga history, behind Lionel Messi.
Cashing in Big Time
There is nothing unexceptional or low key about the Real Madrid ace, and a look around his incredible garage should come as little surprise. The Portuguese winger has an automobile collection worth around $6 million, which includes the likes of Aston Martin DB9, Lamborghini Aventador, Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano, Ferrari F430, McLaren MP4-12C Spyder, Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupé, Bentley Continental GTC, and Bugatti Veyron.
Ronaldo has turned the CR7 name into a billion dollar industry. Apart from a line of menswear, footwear and a fragrance, Ronaldo opened a personal museum – Museu CR7 – in his home city of Funchal. The museum, located as it is beside Pestana CR7 Hotel in Funchal, pays homage to the Real Madrid star. He has also collaborated with Portuguese hotel group Pestana and opened two sleek and stylish hotels in Funchal and Lisboa, which promise to give its visitors the ‘CR7 experience.’
“After football, I want to live like a king. I’ve become the person I am today because of the time I spent without my family and going through difficult times,” said the star to dailymail.co.uk. He intends to continue playing football for another decade or so, and went on to reveal that life isn’t just about the sport. “I must start to think about the future. I don’t have many years left... so I must look to the future,” added the soccer star.
Well, seems like Ronaldo is achieving all his dreams while securing his future quite comfortably. And why not? With a net worth of over $400 million, what’s there to worry about?
Sport: Basket ball
According to the NFL Players Association, the career of a professional athlete is usually relatively brief. Spanning from eight years in Major League baseball to less than five years in professional football on average, athletes have a small window to the bank, as the money spigot often dries up pretty quickly after retirement. But a select group of sports stars enjoy long careers with hefty paydays, and then continue to make millions even after retiring. Michael Jordan is a prime example.
Michael joined the Chicago Bulls in 1984 and quickly emerged as a league star. His leaping ability, finesse and sheer athleticism earned him the nicknames His Airness and Air Jordan. He was the hero as the Bulls claimed straight NBA championships from 1991 through 1993, securing a three-peat. Jordan, who returned to the Bulls in 1995 after his first retirement before the beginning of the 1993–94 NBA season, led the team to three additional championships in 1996, 1997 and 1998. He retired for a second time in 1999, but returned for two more NBA seasons in 2001 as a member of the Wizards.
In his 14-year long and illustrious career, MJ’s accomplishments include: 14 NBA All-Star Game appearances, 10 scoring titles, three steals titles and All-NBA First Team designations, nine
All-Defensive First Team honours, six NBA Finals MVP Awards.
He also was awarded Most Valuable Player (MVP) Awards five times, All-Star Game MVP Awards thrice, and the 1988 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award. In 1999, he was named the greatest North American athlete of the 20th century by ESPN. In 2015, MJ became a member of the FIBA Hall of Fame.
Cashing in Big Time
Okay, let’s face it: No one ever pimped the game like Jordan did. After Magic Johnson and Bird retired, he single-handedly made the NBA global. Considered the best player ever to have played the game of basketball, MJ set records with a steep increase in salary each season, making his total earning as a player worth $93.7 million. Post his retirement, Jordan has built one of the most successful careers we’ve seen from a former athlete. Today, with total earnings of $1.7 billion including endorsement deals with Coca-Cola, Gatorade, Hanes, McDonald’s, Wheaties, and a dozen others, Jordan took sports marketing to another level. Still, it was the collaboration with Nike and his 90% stake in the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets –worth $750 million today – that made MJ the highest-paid athlete of all-time. He also has a car dealership and owns seven restaurants.
He’s also a connoisseur of million-dollar mansions. Of his three mansions – in Florida, near Charlotte, and his Highland Park property in Chicago – Jordan’s palatial $12.4 million Jupiter, Florida estate is one of the most spectacular properties. The house has 18 structures, 11 bedrooms, a two-storey guard tower, a lavish athletic complex with a gym and basketball court, and a media room that’s put to good use during the NBA legend’s high-stakes poker games. Jordan also possesses a number of automobiles, ranging from Porsche 911, Ferrari 512 TR, and Chevrolet C4 Corvette, to Aston Martin DB7 Volante, and Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano. He also has a private Gulfstream IV that has Carolina blue painted on it, along with his jersey number (23) and number of titles (6).
They say the more money you make, the more problems there are to worry about. But let’s face it: Going to sleep with hundreds of millions in cash is a fantastic problem to have. And boxing legend Floyd Mayweather Jr. is not one to complain. With a net worth of over $300 million today, Mayweather proves one cannot reach the pinnacle of boxing without dedicating your entire life to being the best. The countless hours he has committed to studying and training in the sport explains the position he is at today; he was ranked as the world’s highest-paid athlete by Forbes for four consecutive years since 2012. And with the wealth he’s amassed, it’s no surprise that this sporting legend is quite extravagant in his personal tastes.
A five-division world champion, Mayweather’s fortune is built on 12 straight blockbuster payouts since he became the biggest pay-per-view star after his split decision win over Oscar De La Hoya in 2007. That fight, which surpassed former top attractions such as Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis, Mike Tyson, and Manny Pacquiao – generated $1.31 billion, the most in the history of the sport to that point.
In the same year, Floyd’s creation of Mayweather Promotions got an added boost in his earnings. The bold move allowed Mayweather to cut out the promoters, and keep both the boxing and promotion fees from his fights to himself, thus laying a foundation for him to become one of the highest-paid athletes.
However, his biggest payday came eight years later in 2015 for his bout against Filipino professional boxer Manny Pacquiao. Touted as the “Fight of the Century,” the match grossed more than $600 million and set multiple boxing records, including $4.6 million PPV buys. The fight was the highest-grossing, single-day sporting event, for which Mayweather took home $240 million.
In September 2015, Floyd ended his nearly 20-year career with an unblemished 49-0 record after defeating Andre Berto. With the win, he matched the all-time record of Rocky Marciano and pushed his career earnings to $700 million.
Cashing in Big Time
The king of the fabulous Instagram, ‘Money’ Mayweather is known for his luxurious way of living. In 2015, Floyd got himself a customised Mercedes-Benz Sprinter worth $300K. Equipped with massage chairs, a full champagne bar, satellite TV and a surround-sound stereo system, the bus screams tailored luxury.
Rated as the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world, Floyd has accumulated an unfathomable amount of jewellery over the years. Apart from uncountable diamond-encrusted watches, chains, bracelets and rings worth $10 million, Mayweather also has a diamond-encrusted iPod. One of his most expensive purchases – which also happens to be the most expensive watch on the planet – is a $1.1 million Hublot watch that has white diamonds encrusted around the entire enclosure.
Equally famous for his incredible fleet of luxury cars, Mayweather is known to keep a collection of black cars in Las Vegas and white ones in Miami. The 40-year-old boxer owns several Bugattis, including the orange-and-black Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse. Not just that, he also owns a $4.8 million Koenigsegg CCXR Trevita supercar, which is billed as the most expensive car in the world. Other highlights are the Ferrari 458 Italia Spider, the Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4, and the Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet. When not travelling in his Ferraris or Bugattis, Mayweather prefers his private Gulfstream GIII jet when he needs to fly around the world.
Mayweather isn’t a fan of understatement. The former boxer has built a vast real estate portfolio with properties in Miami, Nevada, New York and Los Angeles. His $9 million Las Vegas home spans an incredible 22,000 square feet, and has five bedrooms and seven bathrooms. Named the ‘Big Boy Mansion’, the estate also houses a two-storey home theatre, 24-foot ceilings, a 600-square-foot closet, and is located on a golf course. Given his successful career and taste for the finer things, we’d say he’s entitled to show off a little bit.