Virat Kohli Ranks 83rd in Forbes’ Highest-Paid Athletes List, no Women in Top 100


Virat Kohli is the only sportsperson from India to be featured in world’s highest-paid athletes of Forbes list. He is ranked 83rd with earnings of USD 24 million. This Forbes’ compilation topped by American boxing champion 41-year-old Floyd Mayweather with USD 285 million earnings. Surprisingly, the list is an all-male affair with no women being featured.

Athletes from 11 different sports made the cut. NBA stars lead the way with 40 basketball players among the top 100. The soaring NBA salaries are a result of an increased salary cap, driven by the league’s $24 billion TV deal. The NFL was the next most-represented sport with 18 athletes, led by Matt Ryan ($67.3 million) at ninth overall. Baseball (14 athletes), Soccer (9), Golf (5), boxing, tennis (4 each) and racing (3) also landed multiple stars in the top 100.

Kohli, 29, is not just cricket-crazy India’s biggest name but is also one of the most popular athletes in the world, “boasting more Twitter followers (25 million-plus) than all but three active sports stars”, Forbes said. This year, the BCCI named Kohli as one of just five players to receive the newly-created A+ contracts, which guarantee an annual retainer of more than USD 1 million.

Argentine professional footballer, Lionel Messi ranks second overall with USD 111 million. Soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo ranks third with USD 108 million. NBA’s top earner LeBron James banked USD 85.5 million over the last 12 months to rank 6th. Others on the list are Tennis star Roger Federer (7), golfer Tiger Woods (16), tennis player Rafael Nadal (20) and golfer Rory McIlroy (26).

Forbes said it was harder than ever to qualify for the 100 highest-paid athletes, with the cutoff up USD 1.5 million to USD 22.9 million. The top 100 earned USD 3.8 billion, a 23% jump over last year. Salaries and prize money are up significantly, but endorsement earnings fell for the second straight year to USD 877 million.

The top 100 has an international flavour with athletes from 22 countries, but Americans dominate the action with 66 making the cut thanks to sky-high salaries in baseball, basketball and football. Those three sports had a combined 72 entries, Forbes added.