Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton has cemented his place among the world’s highest-earning sportsmen after signing a new £40million-per-year deal with Mercedes.
Hamilton placed 10th on Forbes’ most recent sporting rich list in June 2017, where he was the top-ranked racing driver and trailed only golfer Rory McIlroy among home nations competitors.
Here, we look at how the new deal could affect Hamilton’s financial outlook.
The ‘big five’
Forbes pegged Hamilton’s earnings from his sport at 38million US dollars, or £29.5m, for the 12 months to last June.
That may feature performance-related bonuses for his 11 grand prix wins, six further podium finishes and second place in the 2016 drivers’ championship but either way, the new £40m wage would have moved him ahead of McIlroy and pushed the ‘big five’ on the Forbes list.
Footballers Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, basketball stars LeBron James and Kevin Durant and tennis great Roger Federer have been comfortably clear in the rich list for the last two years, with Durant’s 60.6m US dollars (£47m) representing 2017’s barrier for entry to the exclusive club.
Hamilton’s earnings from endorsements were estimated at another 8m dollars (£6.2m), meaning any significant performance bonuses would lift him ahead of Durant.
Federer (64m dollars, £49.7m) could also be in his sights, though the Swiss should see his numbers rise this year after winning Wimbledon and the Australian Open. Hamilton would have needed around £16m in bonus payments to challenge Messi for third place.
Britain and Ireland
McIlroy is set to drop back somewhat – the year covered by Forbes includes his 10m US dollar FedEx Cup win – and little has changed for Real Madrid and Wales star Gareth Bale, who was joint 24th in the 2017 list on 34m dollars (£26.4m).
The man alongside Bale could be the one to challenge Hamilton. Conor McGregor was already upwardly mobile and has estimated he made around 100m dollars from his boxing debut against Floyd Mayweather in August last year – enough to threaten the very top of Forbes’ list, especially as the face of EA Sports’ UFC games to boot.
Combat sports appear to be where the money is – boxer Anthony Joshua cracked last year’s top 100 after earning a reported £15m from his world title win over Wladimir Klitschko, and has since defended his belts against Carlos Takam, Joseph Parker and Alexander Povetkin.
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