There is no tennis on the courts, but the sport of racket has just achieved one of its greatest milestones in monetary terms throughout history. Roger Federer he has succeeded, rather. For the first time since the Forbes list was created in 1990, a tennis player has become the highest-paid athlete in a calendar year. He is neither more nor less than the Swiss, who amassed the fortune of $ 106.3 million. An absolute savagery that has put him ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo or Messi.
During the last years, the two best soccer players in the world have been exchanging their position of privilege, with enormous salaries and global visibility that made soccer have a monopoly on the first two steps. Until, in part, the coronavirus arrived. Wages fell and were cut, even if only minimally, and this is where the main source of income for the Swiss tennis player comes into play: sponsorship. There is no athlete on the planet who earns so much for the money he receives from his brands. Nobody. Roger pockets $ 100 million in sponsorships, a real madness.
In fact, their immediate trademark pursuers are more than $ 40 million away, both Lebron James (fifth place this year) as Tiger Woods (eighth). Federer has the best portfolio of brands that sponsor him at his feet, multi-million dollar contracts with brands like Uniqlo, Mercedes Benz or Credit Suisse. The numbers are staggering: thanks to Uniqlo bag 30 million a year, on a ten-year contract; Rolex, Barilla, Moet & Chandon pay him 8. The list keeps going down, as we showed you in the article we wrote last year.
The magazine ‘Forbes’ publishes the amount that each Swiss sponsor Roger Federer pays the Swiss tennis player each year. In total, $ 86 million.
Ronaldo, for example, “only” gets in a matter of sponsors some $ 45 million, while Messi receives $ 32. The difference Roger establishes is abysmal, the result of being the visible face of tennis for many years and of being the hinge of elegance and even perfection, facing many brands. It is not explained otherwise, if not, that a tennis player manages to occupy the first place in the Forbes list, something that in the 90’s, for example, would have been unthinkable.
But it is not the only joy that our sport takes away with the results of this year. As we told you last week, Naomi Osaka (# 29 on the list) has become the highest paid female athlete in history. He appears as the first woman in her, and just behind him is the tennis player he has surpassed in that top: Serena Williams (# 33). Osaka received the galactic $ 34 million in sponsorships … yes, more than Lionel Messi himself. A sign that the Japanese is beginning to be a brutal claim for brands, with strategic decisions such as the appearance of Nike, which “took it away” from Adidas and granted it a privilege that only Li Na had: being able to put on a sponsor patch on your shirt.
On the other hand, three more tennis players slip into the top-40 of the list. Novak DjokovicThe world’s No. 1 ranked No. 23 highest-paid athlete, earning $ 32 million in sponsors in addition to the $ 12.6 million he earned last season for his track performance. Rafael Nadal is behind you, like number # 27, while Kei NishikoriDespite being in the dry dock for much of the season, he still has the luxury of appearing on this list, just closing the top 40 list.
In short, we are talking about an event that we will probably take a long time to see again, caused by an extraordinary situation and the validity of a legendary tennis player who seems perennial in time. Roger Federer, Ladies and Gentlemen: The highest paid athlete in the whole sport.