Bar chart of 20 highest paid athletes of 2018

Highest Paid Athletes

Floyd Mayweather was by far the highest paid athlete as shown in this bar chart.  He earned $285M, which was more than double the $111M earned by Lionel Messi.  Eight sports are represented among the top 20 earners.  There are three soccer players, all in the top 5 earners.  LeBron James leads the four basketball players.  Matt Ryan was the top earner among football players.  There were also two tennis players, two race car drivers, two boxers and one mixed martial arts fighter and one golfer. The data was gathered by Forbes.

Six of the top 20 made more than half of their earnings from endorsements as opposed to salary or winnings.  Tiger Woods, coming off injuries earned 97% of his $43M from endorsements.  Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal made 84% and 65%, respectively.  Endorsements accounted for over half of the earnings from Steph Curry and LeBron James.

At the other extreme, 6 of the top 20 made less than 10% of their earnings from endorsements.  These included boxers Mayweather and Canelo Alvarez, Sebastian Vettel, and three of the quarterbacks--Matt Ryan, Matthew Stafford and Derek Carr.

Horizontal Bar Chart

How I Created the Horizontal Bar Chart

I wanted to highlight the diversity of sports represented and the mix of salary/winnings versus endorsement earnings in my chart.  I thought these were the two most interesting aspects of the data.  I used color to show the different sports and added the color explanation in a legend.  I used a data column to show percentage of earnings from endorsements.

Here are the steps I took to create the chart:

  • enter player name, salary/winnings and endorsement earnings into the Mekko Graphics Data Editor
  • compute total earnings and percentage from endorsements using formulas
  • add columns for each sport name to the data editor and copy the formula for the total for each athlete into the relevant column
  • show endorsement percentage as a data column
  • set colors for each sport
  • add the legend and move to the bottom
  • hide axes and adjust margins

Take This Chart and Make It Your Own

Download this chart and edit it using Mekko Graphics or see other bar chart examples.

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