A new study by US sports marketing agency Sports Marketing Research shows that the top-rated athletes in the world can command up to a $2.5m (£1.8m) salary.
The report, released on Tuesday, also shows that athletes who win a World Cup, Eurovision and the Uefa Champions League can command a staggering $1.3m (£760,000) annually.
However, only 10% of those who win an Olympic gold medal are paid by the host country, while the rest of the players receive the lion’s share of the money.
That means that if you are one of the elite players who earns $1m (£700,000), you’re not only pocketing a $1,500 (around £300,000 at current exchange rates) weekly paycheck, you also have to pay taxes on that money.
In contrast, the next richest player in the sport is James Blake of New York Knicks, who made $2m (£620,000).
“A few of the most successful athletes in sports have gone on to earn massive amounts of money and, like the stars of our sport, they have become celebrities and superstars,” said Dan Parecki, the sports marketing director at Sports Marketing Consultants.
“This is the reason why the money in our report is so interesting.”
The report also reveals that there is a correlation between income from endorsements and performance.
“When you look at athletes who have gone to the Olympics, they earn about twice as much as athletes who do not, and the difference is huge,” said Parelli.
“The difference in performance is huge.
So if you’re one of those athletes who’s going to the World Cup and your team is in the semifinals, it’s your job to win a gold medal.”
The study is based on an online survey conducted between June 2014 and June 2015.
It surveyed over 5,000 athletes aged 18-34, with a sample size of 7,000.
The study found that athletes earning $1-2m per year are almost four times more likely to be named in Sports Illustrated than those earning less than $1 per week.
“It’s not that money is not important to athletes, it just happens to be the exception to the rule,” said the report’s author, Michael E. Pareck.
“But they’re not just in the spotlight.
Their peers, the media and fans are also talking about them and that creates a big opportunity.”
It is also important to note that the report only considers players who win gold medals.
There are also a number of athletes who make less than the top earners, such as US golfer Jason Day, who earned $834,000 last year.
“In this study, we were looking at the top athletes at the Olympics who have won a gold, silver, bronze or decathlon,” said Patrick Nesbitt, Sports Marketing Director at Sportsworld.
“So we’re talking about players who have done more than $2 million, and those players are often in the minority.”
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