Reuters / Eddie Keogh

CAPE TOWN - The planet’s biggest sports stars had another banner year with the 100 top-earning athletes banking R40.9 billion.  
 
According to Forbes magazine, the combination was done over the past 12 months, from June 2016 to June 2017 with the Global soccer icon Cristiano Ronaldo taking the top spot with $93m.

It said that Ronaldo’s top earning spot included $35m off the pitch from sponsors and licensing.
 
The salaries are soaring in team sports but the players at the very top of the earnings food chain separate themselves by what they make from endorsements.
 
The five highest-paid athletes, Ronaldo of Portugal, LeBron James of U.S, Lionel Messi of Argentina, Roger Federer of Switzerland and Kevin Durant of U.S all generate more than $25 m annually from sponsors.
 
In addition to their athletic achievements, the appeal of this group for marketers is a function of the global sports they play. Nike (and Adidas in the case of Messi) can use all of them in ad campaigns around the world. That is not the case with stars in the NFL and MLB.
 
Meanwhile, an anticipated billion dollar boxing fight between Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather will take place on Saturday night at the T-Mobile arena on the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada.

It is said that if the fight sells well as anticipated, Mayweather would wipe $100m with McGregor on the other corner taking $75m.

Here is a list of the top performing athletes for 2017:

Cristiano Ronaldo, $93 million (R1.2bn)

2. LeBron James, $86.2 million (R1.1bn)

3. Lionel Messi, $80 million (R1bn)

4. Roger Federer, $64 million (R842m)

5. Kevin Durant, $60.6 million (R797m)

6. Andrew Luck, $50 million (R658m)

6. Rory McIlroy, $50 million (R658m)

8. Stephen Curry, $47.3 million (R622m)

9. James Harden, $46.6 million (R613m)

10. Lewis Hamilton, $46 million (R613m)

-BUSINESS  REPORT ONLINE