When the latest rankings for the highest earners in world sports were released last year, it became clear that an athlete’s longevity pays dividends.
This was evidenced by the likes of old timers Roger Federer, Lebron James, Ronaldo and Messi all topping the charts.
However, at some point those ageing bones and joints must catch up with these legends, meaning a new generation of players will be lining up to take the mantle of being a top 10 sports earner.
Here are just some of the fresh names that are already making waves, in terms of sporting achievement, yes, but business success as well.
Osaka is now closing in on overtaking the earning power of male stars in her sport
Naomi Osaka – Age 23 – Highest Earning Woman Sports Star
Despite being a softly spoken twentysomething, this Japanese player has won the hearts of tennis fans around the world, combining her blistering hitting power with a conscientious approach to life both on and off the court.
This was reflected in the odds in the lead up to the 2021 Australian Open, where she was a firm favorite with bookies and online tipsters long before a ball had been struck in earnest Down Under.
All this hype has already turned her into the highest-earning woman sports star on the planet, outgunning elder peers like Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova, as well as making her a popular pick for sports punters on the lookout for value in the leadup to major WTA tournaments and grand slam showcases.
Among the huge brands already onboard the Osaka bandwagon are Nissan, Nike, and more recently, Louis Vuitton.
Can Mick follow in his father’s footsteps and wow German F1 fans?
Mick Schumacher – Age 21 – Son of a Legend
Although his career is still in its fledgling stages when compared to Osaka’s, Mick Schumacher already has all the makings of being a top-earning sports star.
This is partly due to the early promise he has shown as a racing driver, but also because if he is successful his story will become one of the greatest in sport. It would see him follow in the footsteps of a father whose unfortunate ski accident robbed him of the ability to ever drive again.
Catarina Macario – Age 21 – The Female Messi
Whereas in some sports the gender earnings gap is closing fast, the same cannot be said in soccer, where women still struggle to earn in a year what most top-level men pocket in a week.
However, with Nike recently signing a major deal with Norwegian international Ada Hegerberg, the signs are that women’s soccer could be a huge growth area this decade.
Catarina Macario is well poised to take advantage, having moved from Brazil to the USA to follow her dreams of becoming the world’s best player.
She then recently secured a transfer to play alongside Hegerberg at European club powerhouse, Lyon. If she continues to rattle in volleys and freekicks at the same quality of those which she scored back in the US college system, expect her stock to rise sharply sooner rather than later.