Sports is a game of big time athletes and big time money, with kabillions of dollars being ingested by the sports community each year, with costs rising each year to watch and participate.
Need proof? Try to buy tickets to a game, complete with food, for you and your family and watch how fast the money disappears from your wallet and into the hands of team owners and the athletes you’re paying to watch perform at the highest levels.
Each year, Forbes puts out their list of the 100 highest paid athletes in sports, and while there are a few eyebrow raising placements, what’s most appalling, yet unfortunately not shocking, is the fact that not one single female athlete made the list. Not even Serena Williams? Nope, she fell off the list with a “mere” $18 million.
Topping the list is Floyd Mayweather, whose total pay came in at $285 million. Next, and that’s about 60% less next, is Lionel Messi at $111 million. Out of the top 5, three are soccer players and one is Conor McGregor, who is living large after his fight with Floyd Mayweather. The first NBA player to check in on the list is LeBron James at #6 with $85.5 million and the first NFL player is Matt Ryan of the Falcons at #9 with $67.3 million.
Out of the Top 10, three are soccer players, two are NBA players (LeBron and Steph Curry, who raked in $76.9 million at #8), two are NFL players (Ryan and Matt Stafford at #10 with $59.5 million), one is a boxer, one is an MMA fighter and one is a tennis player (Roger Federer at #7 with $77.2 million). Interesting that auto racing, golf and baseball athletes don’t appear until 12th (Lewis Hamilton, $51 million), 16th (Tiger Woods, $43.3 million) and 37th (Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw, $34.5 million), respectively.
This list is further evidence that much more work and commitment is needed (and damn sure necessary) to improve gender equality in sports. More diversity, more opportunity, more recognition and a lot more investment is needed in women’s sports and the amazing athletes who are putting in the same effort and work into their craft as their male counterparts, but receiving no where near as much.