Mayweather finished ahead of actor and director George Clooney and television personality and entrepreneur Kylie Jenner.

By Daniel Herborn


Posted on July 17, 2018

The boxer earned a massive US$275 million out of his total US$285 million yearly earnings for his fight with mixed martial artist and UFC star Conor McGregor. The bout drew 4.3 million pay-per-view buys, making it the second most watched fight in history.

George Clooney placed second with US$239 million, mostly earned through his tequila company Casamigos, which was purchased by Diageo for US$700 million. Clooney had co-founded Casamigos with Mike Meldman and Rande Gerber. The lucrative sale meant he had the highest annual take-home of any actor ever in the Forbes list.

Kylie Jenner rounded out the top three after recent reports she was on track to be youngest ever self-made billionaire. This drew a backlash after critics pointed out calling Jenner “self-made” was inaccurate given she was born into an extremely wealthy family.

Jenner’s massive earning ability also shows the power of social media and has ushered in a new era of “ extreme fame leverage“. She is the sole owner of Kylie Cosmetics, which started out selling lip liner and lip kits and has since expanded into eyeliner, highlighter, eyeshadow and other cosmetics. It has sold more than US$630 million worth of product since it was founded in early 2016. The company has successfully utilised limited edition flash sales to generate interest. Jenner has a net worth of US$900 million.

The 100 celebrities on the list made a combined US$6.3 billion pre-tax, an increase of 22% from last year’s list. A pronounced trend this year was celebrities leveraging their fame through social media or business ventures which stand apart from their main revenue streams as entertainers.

Other stars on the list

Football starts Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo also featured in the top ten. Ronaldo is set to earn even more next year after completing a lucrative move to Italian club Juventus. LeBron James, who ranked 17th with US$85.5 million, may also have greater earnings next year following his move to the massive Los Angeles market which should bring with it more endorsement and commercial opportunities.

James Patterson was the highest paid author on the list. He published more than 20 books in the last year alone (many co-written) and amassed earnings of US$86 million for the year. His high-profile thriller The President is Missing, co-written with Bill Clinton, should also set him up for strong earnings in the year ahead. It shifted more than a quarter of a million copies in its first week of release.

For the musicians on the list, touring was the healthiest revenue stream and arena tours for U2, Coldplay and Taylor Swift propelled them to the upper reaches of the index. Jay-Z (US$76.5 million) and Beyoncé Knowles (US$60 million) also reaped the rewards of their On The Run II tour, which grossed an estimated US$5 million a night. The pair also benefitted from their stakes in music streaming service Tidal becoming more valuable following a US$200 million investment from Sprint.

    The top ten highest-earning celebrities:
  • Floyd Mayweather (Earnings: US$285 million)
  • George Clooney (US$239 million)
  • Kylie Jenner (US$166.5 million)
  • Judy Shendlin (Judge Judy) (US$146 million)
  • Dwayne Johnson (US$124 million)
  • U2 (US$118 million)
  • Coldplay (US$115.5 million)
  • Lionel Messi (US$111 million)
  • Ed Sheeran (US $110 million)
  • Cristiano Ronaldo (US $108 million)