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These Six Athletes Have All Earned More Than $1 Billion During Their Career

These six athletes are the only ones in the world who have made more than $1 billion during their careers as of the time of writing.



Michael Schumacher (no. 6) 600 million in net worth
$50 million was made in total from Formula One racing.
$1 billion in total career earnings
Michael Schumacher is a former German Formula One race car driver who has a net worth of $600 million. He got into racing at a young age and is now regarded as the greatest Formula One driver ever. He worked in the field from 1991 to 2006. He found his groove in 1994, winning six of the seven main races. He began racing with Scuderia Ferrari S.P.A. in 1996. Michael nearly overnight started winning races for the ailing squad.

Schumacher would go on to win more titles than any other driver in the history of motorsport starting around the year 2000. He was a seven-time Formula One world driver’s champion (1994, 1994, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004). He captured his third World Championship, the Italian Grand Pix, and the Japanese Grand Pix in 2000. Around 2005, his level of achievement began to decline, and he made his retirement announcement in 2006. He confirmed his return with Mercedes GP in 2010. At the 2012 Monaco Grand Prix, he set the quickest qualifying time, and at the 2012 European Grand Prix, he came in third. With this, became the only oldest driver to ever achieve a podium since Jack Brabham’s second-place finish in 1970 at the British Grand Prix.

Schumacher made $50 million from sponsorships alone, even in the years he wasn’t racing. He received $10 million per year from Shell at the height of his career to don the company’s cap at almost all public engagements. He was the highest-paid athlete in the world when he was at his height, making $80-100 million annually.

Michael’s career was tragically cut short following a skiing accident in December 2013. He had a catastrophic brain damage in the collision. Schumacher has not been seen in public since being put into a medically induced coma for six months. In June 2014, he regained consciousness. Michael was reportedly disabled and in a wheelchair in November 2014. He lost his memories and was unable to talk.

Number 5 Floyd Mayweather $400 million net worth
$1 billion in total earnings throughout a career.
Just two fights brought in $500 million for Floyd Mayweather. In 2015, he earned $250 million for taking on Manny Pacquiao, and in 2017, he earned $300 million for taking on MMA icon Conor McGregor. Over the past two decades, Mayweather has dominated the sport of boxing. On October 11, 1996, Floyd engaged in his first professional bout. In the second round, he defeated Roberto Apodaca by knockout. A record-breaking six boxing titles were won by Floyd throughout his career, in the weight divisions of Super Featherweight, Lightweight, Junior Welterweight, Welterweight, and Super Welterweight.

Fourth: Jack Nicklaus $400 million net worth
Golf revenue totaled $5.6 million.
$1.15 billion in total earnings throughout a career.
Known as Jack Nicklaus The Golden Bear is often regarded as history’s best golfer. Over a 25-year period, he won 18 major championships. During his pro career, Nicklaus focused on the Masters, U.S. Open, Open Championship, and PGA Championship while also playing a selective schedule of PGA Tour events. His PGA career came to an end with 73 victories. Nicklaus played intermittently for another ten years before he officially retired from professional golf in 1996.

Don’t label Nicklaus as retired despite the fact that it has been a while since golf was the main source of his income. He is actually a long way from retiring. Having established Nicklaus Design almost 50 years ago, he has created more than 380 golf courses in 36 nations. But Nicklaus’ empire encompasses much more than just course design. Like his former competitor Arnold Palmer, he has a line of golf balls and has given his name on a branded lemonade to AriZona Beverage. Additionally, he has marketing and endorsement agreements with a number of businesses, including Perry Ellis and Rolex.

Speaking of his licensing agreement with AriZona, Nicklaus took sure to get Arnold Palmer’s approval before signing the contract. Palmer signed with the company first and Nicklaus didn’t want to step on his toes, so to speak.

Arnold Palmer, third $700 million in net worth
Golf revenue totaled $3.6 million.
$1.35 billion in total earnings throughout a career.
Arnold Palmer played golf for 52 years on the PGA Tour and the Senior Tour, earning a meager $3.6 million in prizes. Although $3.6 million is a respectable sum of money, it would not have been enough to support Palmer and his family during the 43 years between his last victory and his passing in September 2016 at the age of 87. Thankfully, Palmer was a smart guy. At his height, sponsorships, licensing deals, and 500 retail locations selling Arnold Palmer-branded apparel and footwear throughout Asia helped him earn more than $40 million per year. Palmer became the consummate salesman after his golfing career came to an end. He was endorsed by a large number of businesses, including Cadillac, Hertz, Pennzoil, and others. Palmer’s contract with Rolex was renewed for a further ten years in 2014. The renowned golfer had been friends with the watchmaker for fifty years at the time, when he was 85 years old.

For companies and brands seeking for a spokesperson, golfers are a desirable choice. A demographic with high amounts of discretionary money typically watches golf. Golfers also have a much longer career than say, your typical NFL player. Additionally popular internationally is golf.

Palmer established a golf course design company in the 1970s in addition to sponsorship deals. He was also instrumental in founding the Golf Channel and owned the Bay Hill Golf Course in Orlando, Florida for more than 40 years.

As Palmer approached his 80s, his team concentrated on licensing agreements, such as giving his name to a line of beverages with the AriZona Beverage Co., which brings in $200 million yearly for the business—or one-fourth of its revenues—and several million for Palmer personally. Palmer established the standard that all athletes aspire to. In the 43 years between his final professional golf match and his passing, he earned around 240 times more money than he had during his lengthy, prosperous, and lucrative career in his sport.

At the age of 87, Arnold Palmer passed away in September 2016.

Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Getty Images/Andrew Redington

(2). Tiger Woods $8 billion in net worth
$120 million was earned in total golf winnings.
$1.5 billion in total earnings throughout a career.
It’s unclear if Tiger Woods will ever recover and play golf again professionally after his horrific February car crash. Woods has made more than $1.5 billion in his professional golf career to this point. He is the golfer with the highest lifetime earnings. For many years, he was also the celebrity with the largest annual income.

In August 1996, Woods became a professional, winning the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year award and “Sports Illustrated’s” 1996 Sportsman of the Year awards. At age 21, he won the Masters on April 13, 1997, becoming the competition’s youngest champion. He broke the record for the fastest rise to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Rankings two months later.

From 2000 through 2010, Woods was the dominant player in golf. From August 1999 to September 2004 (264 weeks), then again from June 2005 to October 2010, he held the number one golfer in the global ranking (281 weeks). He achieved this by winning 13 major golf tournaments. Woods’ career had comebacks from injuries and personal issues throughout the following ten years. In November 2011, Woods dropped to position 58 in the world rankings. Between March 2013 and May 2014, he rose once more to the top spot. Woods competed in only one tournament between August 2015 and January 2018, and he dropped off the list of the world’s top 1,000 golfers due to the four back surgeries he had between 2014 and 2017. Woods steadily rose to the top of the sport after making a comeback to competitive play, winning his first match in five years at the Tour Championship in September 2018 and his first major in eleven years at the 2019 Masters.

We send our best wishes to Tiger as he battles his injuries from the auto accident.

Michael Jordan, first $2.2 billion in net worth
NBA salary total: $93.7 million
The current average annual income is $100 million.
Michael Jordan has a whopping $2.2 billion in net worth as of this writing. That’s obviously not from his many years as the NBA’s dominant player. Jordan earned just $93.7 million in compensation over the course of his 15-year NBA career. He was the first athlete in history to earn more than $30 million a year, which happened way back in the 1996-1997 season when he made a base salary of $30.14 million. He earned $33.14 million for the 1997–1998 season, which is more than $53 million today after accounting for inflation. Jordan’s earnings from endorsements and other business activities continue to be at least $100 million annually.

Jordan owns the NBA team Charlotte Hornets, which accounts for the majority of his $2.2 billion net worth. Beginning in 2006, he invested in the squad as a junior shareholder before assuming ownership in 2010. Jordan’s decision to purchase the bulk of the Hornets at the ideal time. The franchise was worth $175 million when he was given the go-ahead for the deal in March 2010. Since then, NBA values have increased dramatically. He owns over 90% of the business, which was most recently estimated to be worth at least $1.5 billion.