Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen ranked among the world's highest-paid athletes in 2022 on Forbes' list – paultan.org

Forbes has released its 2022 list of the top 50 highest-paid athletes, which tracks the income collected by athletes between May 1, 2021 and May 1, 2022. According to the publication, these figures were obtained from dozens of industry insiders, including agents and representatives for the athletes themselves in some cases.

To make the list, an athlete must at the minimum meet the cutoff of USD37.6 million (RM165.6 million), which is an increase from USD34 million last year (RM149.8 million) and the highest threshold ever.

Out of the 50 athletes that made the cut, just two are from the world of motorsport, namely Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen. Hamilton, a seven-time winner of the Formula 1 World Drivers’ Championship (matching Michael Schumacher’s record), ranked an impressive 17th, placing him in front of Tyson ‘The Gypsy King’ Fury in 18th.

The Brit and current Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team driver collected a cool USD65 million (RM286.3 million), with USD57 million (RM251 million) coming from on-the-field earnings, while the remaining USD8 million (RM35.2 million) came through off-the field earnings.

Referring to Forbes’ methodology, on-field earnings figures include prize money, salaries and bonuses, while off-field earnings figures are an estimate of sponsorship deals, appearance fees and memorabilia and licensing income. The latter also accounts for cash returns from any businesses in which the athlete has a significant interest.

Meanwhile, reigning Formula 1 champion and Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen earned USD48 million (around RM211.4 million) to be placed 26th on the list ahead of NBA stars Paul George, Anthony Davis and Kawhi Leonard. Like Hamilton, a good portion of Verstappen’s income came from on-the-field earnings at USD46 million (RM202.6 million), with just USD2 million (RM8.8 million) being off-the-field earnings.

Compared to last year’s list, Hamilton dropped several places in 2022, as he was eighth in 2021 by earning a considerable USD82 million (RM361.2 million). On the other hand, Verstappen improved by one spot from his 27th position in 2021, when he collected USD42.5 million (RM187.2 million).

In total, the world’s 50 highest-paid athletes collected an eye-watering USD2.97 billion (RM13 billion) before taxes and agents’ fees over the last 12 months, which beats last year’s record total by 8%, or more than USD200 million (RM881 million). Nearly a third of the total amount – USD1.06 billion (RM4.7 billion) – came from endorsement deals and other off-the-field earnings.

The highest paid athlete on the list is Lionel Messi, who earned USD130 million (RM572.7 million), followed by LeBron James (USD121.2 million or RM533.9 million, Cristiano Ronaldo (USD115 million or RM506.6 million).

Beyond the top three, the remainder of the top ten did not cross the USD100 million (RM440.5 million) mark, including Neymar (fourth), Stephen Curry (fifth), Kevin Durant (sixth), Roger Federer (seventh), Canelo Alvarez (eighth), Tom Brady (ninth) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (tenth).

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