Who are the Richest Young Sports Stars in the UK?On June 22, 2023 by wx2w0 Standard
Johnny Haynes was the first footballer in Britain to earn £100 per week, or a cool £5,200 per year. The Fulham legend was a beneficiary of the abolition of the maximum wage which had kept footballer’s pay capped at £20 per week until 1961. Even after that, however, the average weekly pay in the top flight of English football remained below £1,000 until 1985.
But if we leap forward to the present day, we can see that the best-paid player in the Premier League is Kevin De Bruyne, who earns around £400,000 per week. We see a similar, though less exaggerated, progression in other sports. For example, Sandy Lyle won £65,000 for landing the 1985 Open Championship, whilst the winner in 2022 took home around £2m.
There is no doubt about it that at the top level, several sports are hugely rewarding to their elite players. In addition to prize money, basic salary and bonuses, the best sports stars in the UK also earn massive amounts through sponsorship agreements. But just who are the richest young sports men (and they are all men, although tennis’s Emma Radacanu did earn around £18m in the 12 months after her US Open win) in the UK, and how much are they worth?
We’ve taken info from the Sunday Times’ 2023 Rich List, which assesses overall wealth rather than annual earnings. Note that this is not limited to British citizens, but includes those that earn their money here, or live here as well. In addition, we are looking at people who are under 35 years old, are still active in sport, and have earned the majority of their wealth through playing sport.
1) Rory McIlroy – £200m
Rory is 34 so this will be his last entry on such under-35 lists but for now he is the richest sports star from the UK. His worth is estimated at £200m and whilst he has diversified his income streams in recent years, almost all of his wealth has come through prize money and sponsorship. He has won four majors, though none since 20014, and is believed to have career earnings (on-course) of around $125m (currently £101m).
In addition to that he signed a deal in 2013 with Nike believed to be worth around $100m. In 2017 Nike stopped making golf clubs but he signed a fresh $200m agreement with the company to wear their clothes. That also then freed him up to sign a $100m equipment deal with TaylorMade. Not bad work if you can get it.
2) Anthony Joshua – £150m
Watford’s most famous fighter, often known as AJ, is worth a cool £150m and whilst his career hasn’t hit the heights that were predicted, he still managed to unify the heavyweight championship of the world. In addition, he has spent much of the past 10 years among The Ring’s best pound-for-pound fighters in the world and featured in some stunning fights, so it would be unfair to dismiss him too readily.
His 13 pay-per-view fights in the UK were streamed around 15m times and he is believed to have earned around $75m just from his defeat to Oleksandr Usyk in 2022. The fact that he has well over 10m followers on Instagram has made him a heavy hitter with brands too, and deals with the likes of Hugo Boss and Jaguar have further boosted his wealth.
3) Gareth Bale – £70m
Welsh star Gareth Bale is believed to be worth £70m, with much of that fortune accumulated during his nine seasons with Real Madrid. In his latter years it was almost money for nothing too, as the relationship with the club soured and he only made limited appearances.
Posing with a Welsh flag that read “Wales. Golf. Madrid.” summed up his priorities and the former Spurs player has replicas of three of golf’s most famous holes built within the grounds of his Welsh estate. Amazing what you can buy after earning around £600,000 a week in Spain! It might be a push to call Bale still active as he is technically retired from football but maybe, just maybe, Wrexham, or hometown team Cardiff, can tempt him back onto the pitch.
4) Raheem Sterling – £61m
Sterling has long been a high earner on the pitch having enjoyed seven lucrative years at Man City, as well as playing for Liverpool before that. He is believed to earn around £325,000 per week with Chelsea, who signed him in 2022 for a fee of more than £47m. It may surprise some but Sterling is still only 28 years old, despite boasting 82 England caps.
Over the years he has enjoyed several excellent partnerships with brands including New Balance, Nike and Gillette. His superb performances for big clubs, as well as the Three Lions, have helped him gain those, and more recently he has founded a property business with his fiancée.
5) Harry Kane – £51m
Kane has been at Spurs since 2004 as a youth but seems unlikely to make it to a 20-year anniversary, with a move to Man United touted for summer 2023. That would boost his vast wealth considerably as he could expect to add at least 50% to his current wages, which already stand at a rather healthy £200k per week. As the captain of both Spurs and England, Kane has been a high earner for many years, both on and off the pitch.
Another wealthy sports star in the Nike stable, over the years he has been involved in various partnerships, TV adverts and endorsements. He has invested all of this money wisely too and now has a property empire believed to be worth a small eight-figure sum. In addition, the Walthamstow-born striker, Spurs and England’s all-time record goalscorer, recently invested in a doughnut start-up!