Top Ten Highest Paid Athletes in 2007

#1 - Tiger Woods ($100 million)

Tiger WoodsGolf - Probably the most famous sportsman in the world for a number of years now, Tiger Woods heads our list of the top 10 highest paid athletes of 2007. Regularly winning majors and other opens aroud the globe, the golfer has made his earnings this year through competition prize money and lucrative sponsorship deals.

#2 - Oscar De La Hoya ($43 million)

Oscar De La HoyaBoxing - Oscar De La Hoya's title fight with Floyd Mayweather in May 2007 may have ended unsuccessfully in the ring, but financially it proved extremely successful with De La Hoya earning a record $43 million. More records were broken with highest gate receipts ($19 million), pay per view revenue ($120 million) and pay per view audience (2.2 million).

#3 - Phil Mickelson ($42 million)

Phil MickelsonGolf - After a shaky string of results in the early year (including blowing the 2006 US Open on the last hole), Phil Mickelson's season picked up with the win at the Player's Championship, earning him $1.6 million (the highest ever PGA tour purse). This along with endorsement deals from the likes of Ford and Exxon Mobil help to put Mickelson the 3rd highest paid athlete of 2007.

#4 - Kimi Raikkonen ($40 million)

Kimi RaikkonenFormula One - With the retirment of 7 time world chamion Michael Schumacher, Ferrari needed a proven, experienced driver to fill his boots. Kimi Raikkonen, with 5 years experience at the top with McLaren appeared to be the right choice; Ferrari have signed him on a 3 year contract that makes him the highest paid driver in Formula One.

#5 - Michael Schumacher ($36 million)

Michael SchumacherFormula One - The most successful driver ever in Formula one, with 7 championship titles, 91 race victories and 154 top-three finishes, Michael Schumacher is in the list of highest paid athletes at number 5. Over his career, he earned $650 million in salary and endorsements deals, and last year achieved arguably the pinnacle of his career providing the voice of a Ferrari in the Disney-Pixar movie Cars.

#6 - David Beckham ($33 million)

David BeckhamFootball/Soccer - The international football star (or "soccer" as the Americans call it) has just made his move across the pond to the States, having signed a lucrative contract with the Los Angeles Galaxy. Initial reports of a $250 million 5-year deal proved over-exaggerated, his basic salary realistically being $5.5 million a year. However, "Goldenballs" will be earning lucrative cuts of gate reciepts and merchansising, as well as the numerous endorsements he has with the likes of Adidas and Pepsi.

#7 - Kobe Bryant ($33 million)

Kobe BryantBasketball - This year, Bryant became the second player in the history of the NBA to score at least 50 points in four straight games (The first? Michael Jordan). In February, he claimed his second MVP title for an All-Star game. Sony signed him to be the cover player for its NBA '07 videogame, and his jersey was the best seller in China this season.

#8 - Shaquille O'Neal ($32 million)

Shaquille O'NealBasketball - Injuries and career low averages on points and rebounds in the last NBA season look like signalling the last stages of his professional career. However, it looks more likely that his future will be lying in other businesses and media ventures; his newly formed O'Neal Group will specialise in developing commercial and residential property, while his new show Shaq's Big Challenge (a reality show helping young kids to lose weight through exercise and sports) on ABC looks like leading a way into TV for the big man.

#9 - Ronaldinho ($31 million)

RonaldinhoFootball/Soccer - The two-time FIFA player of the year was expected to be the star of last year's World Cup. Endorsement deals were signed with more than a dozen companies including Nike, Lenovo and Pepsi. But he and his favoured Brazilian team flamed out early, losing in the quarterfinals to France. A fruitless last season with his club Barcelona only adds to his frustration, meaning he will hopefully be fighting even harder next year to make it a successful one.

#10 - Michael Jordan ($31 million)

Michael JordanBasketball - Despite it being 4 years since his retirement from the NBA, Michael Jordan is the 3rd basketball player to make it onto the list. He made more news this year away from the court this past year with the high profile divorce from his wife of 17 years Juanita Jordan and $8 million lawsuit against WorldCom. Good new sfor Jordan is that his Nike sneakers are still a $500 million business.


Source - Forbes, June 2007

Tags - Sports, People, Money

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