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Floyd Mayweather tops sport's rich list after £200m payday

Floyd Mayweather in Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium on February 4, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Floyd Mayweather has returned to the top of the list of the highest earners in sport following his fight with Conor McGregor.

The 2017 boxing clash between Mayweather and McGregor was one of the most-watched and talked about sporting event in years, and saw the undefeated boxer earn £207.6m, in a pay-per-view event that had 4,500,000 subscriptions. McGregor earned an enormous £64m himself, which placed him in fourth.

Mayweather came out of retirement for the clash, rocketing him back to the top of the rankings produced by Forbes.

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For years they trailed athletes in the US, but football stars have steadily climbed up the rankings as wealth has ballooned at the top of the game, leading to Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, Paris Saint-Germain’s Neymar, and new Juventus signing Cristiano Ronaldo making up the rest of the top five.

Messi’s longtime rival Ronaldo now edges him as the highest earner, with £83.81m in salary and sponsorship deals. Ronaldo made £81.54m, falling behind due to Messi’s huge new Barcelona deal.


It is Neymar’s deal with PSG following a £227m world record transfer to the French capital that places him in fifth.

In the Premier League, Paul Pogba is the top earner, raking in £22.27 with a combination of his Manchester United salary and endorsements, though that will likely rise following his World Cup triumph with France.

Britain’s top earner may not live in Britain anymore, but Lewis Hamilton is 12th in the rich list earning £38.5m through his many sponsorship arrangements and Formula One success with Mercedes AMG Petronas.

Lewis Hamilton during the Formula One Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone on July 8, 2018 in Northampton, England.

Sport’s Top 10 earners

1: Floyd Mayweather (boxing) – £207.6m

2: Lionel Messi (football) – £83.81m

3: Cristiano Ronaldo (football) – £81.54m

4: Conor McGregor (mixed martial arts) – £74.75m

5: Neymar (football) – £67.95

6: LeBron James (basketball) – £66.82m

7: Roger Federer (tennis) – £58.29m

8: Steph Curry (basketball) – £58.06m

9: Matt Ryan (American football) – £50.81m

10: Matthew Stafford (American football) – £44.92m