Formula One's Fernando Alonso May be Highest Paid in Sport

By Alan Dymock

In a recent survey it was concluded that Barcelona FC were the biggest spender in salaries in professional team sport. Real Madrid closely followed behind in the survey as did Manchester City and Chelsea. Of the US teams to make the top 12 there was, in order of spending, the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies and then the San Antonio Spurs.

This survey presented by the Sporting Intelligence group only gave averages for team spending, with Barcelona spending some £5.3m to players on average per annum. The Lakers were estimated to pay some £3.8m.

This in no way details how much the very elite of each team are earning per annum, nor does it factor in the issues of endorsements and image rights. This being said, according to reports, with sponsorship added to his wage the estimate is that Lionel Messi commands some £26.4m per annum.

This is mind blowing. Kobe Bryant is in a similar position with an estimated salary of £16m before adding hefty endorsements which could tip him over to some £34m.

As impressive as this all is, it is something we would come to expect. We know Messi and Bryant are valuable, just as we know that Manny Pacquiao, Tiger Woods and Roger Federer are worth a lot in their individual pursuits. However prize money is dictated by these guys and sponsorship means a lot. No one guarantees them a certain amount of money. So the likes of Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Bryant and LeBron James could be said to be sports most salaried individuals.

That is until you meet this guy…

It used to be thought that horse racing was the sport of kings. When one looks at the money involved, though, it is evident that Formula One is now the draw for the elite.

A report came out today listing what individual drivers were paid per team per annum.

Last year’s champion Sebastian Vettel is paid around £8m, as is his Red Bull teammate Mark Webber. At McLaren Britain’s Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button take home a salary of £13m.

All of these guys were dwarfed, however, by the starting salary (with no mention of sponsorship whatsoever) of Ferrari’s principle driver Fernando Alonso. The Spaniard takes home a whopping £24m per annum. That is just shy of Messi with sponsorship deals added on.

If he is a big star in Spain and the face of several campaigns one can only imagine what he is worth.

Per year, within a team, is Fernando Alonso the most salaried sportsman on the planet?

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