Tennis icons Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams were the highest two earning female athletes over the last 12 months and were the only two women to feature in the Top 100 highest paid sporting stars.
Sportico released its findings on the highest paid athletes in the last year and four-time grand slam champion Osaka stood atop of the podium for women earning $53.2 million ($AUD 77 million) through winnings and endorsements.
While she was at No.22 overall, Osaka was the highest paid athlete in the world under the age 25.
She was ahead of football superstar Kylian Mbappe and F1 world champion Max Verstappen. A huge proportion of Osaka’s earning were made through her 20 endorsement partners.
This was similar to 23-time grand slam Williams. Williams hasn’t played tennis since Wimbledon 2021, but her brand outside of the game continues to rake in the money.
The tennis legend earned $35.3 million ($AUD 51 million).
Osaka and Williams were also the only two female athletes to appear in last year’s Sportico list of the Top 100 earning athletes.
Roger Federer was the highest paid tennis star with $85.7 ($AUD 123 million), despite also sitting out from the ATP Tour since Wimbledon.
The combined total on-court earnings in the last 12 months from Osaka, Williams and Federer totalled $2.2 million, compared to $172 million off the court.
LeBron James and Lionel Messi dual out richest award
NBA legend LeBron James topped the earnings with a whopping $126.9 million ($AUD 183 million).
The four-time MVP has the biggest shoe deal with Nike in the NBA and also rakes in money from other endorsements including Rimowa, Walmart, GMC, AT&T, PepsiCo and Crypto.com.
Here are the highest paid athletes under 25 in the world, per @Sportico's rankings:
— Eben Novy-Williams (@novy_williams) May 11, 2022
PSG star Messi, Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo, PSG forward Neymar and pound-for-pound boxing champ Canelo Alvaraz round out the top five highest earning athletes.
The Top 100 athletes earned a combine $6.5 billion over the last 12 months, which was a six per cent increase from the previous period.
There were 10 different sports in the Top 100.