By the time the clock struck midnight to take the world into the year 2010, we had already been largely desensitised to the concept of big money entering sport. Word of bumper baseball contracts and ludicrous transfer fees in football had become commonplace, and really, it was a trend that begun way back in the '90s.
Which is why it's strange to say that the relationship between money and sport has shifted even more dramatically in the decade that followed. Cash now flows through most sports more readily than ever before as advertisers jump on board and the concepts of fitness and wellness become ever more fashionable. In some ways, this is good. Women are now being paid more handsomely for their services, for instance. But at the very top of the tree, it's also created some staggeringly rich people.
#10 Lewis Hamilton: $400 million
The six-time F1 World Champion is the most marketable athlete in the sport and commands the biggest paycheck.
#9 Kevin Durant: $425 million
Durant’s annual earnings from his salary and endorsements jumped 400% during the course of the decade.
#8 Manny Pacquiao: $435 million
Pacquiao’s 25 pay-per-view fights have generated 20 million buys and an estimated $1.3 billion in revenue.
#7 Phil Mickelson: $480 million
Mickelson nabbed the biggest paycheck of his career in 2018 when he defeated his longtime rival Woods in an exhibition for a $9 million purse.
#6 Tiger Woods: $615 million
Tiger averaged only 10 PGA Tour events per year during the 2010s, but his endorsement earnings for the decade were tops among athletes.
#5 Roger Federer: $640 million
Federer, 38, is on the back end of his tennis career, but his earnings will stay high on the back of a 10-year, $300 million deal with Uniqlo inked in 2018.
#4 LeBron James: $680 million
James has made more than twice as much from endorsements during his first 16 years in the NBA, compared to his $270 million in playing salary.
#3 Lionel Messi: $750 million
Messi’s 2019 playing salary for Barcelona is the highest of any athlete across all team sports.
#2 Cristiano Ronaldo: $800 million
Ronaldo’s endorsement partners benefit from his massive Instagram and Facebook followings, which both rank as the biggest of any person on the planet.
#1 Floyd Mayweather: $915 million
Mayweather pocketed more than $500 million combined for his 2015 and 2017 fights versus Manny Pacquiao and Conor McGregor.
Raking in a combined $8.8 billion between them.