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Visualizing the Highest-Paid Athletes in 2021

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Ranking the Highest-Paid Athletes in 2021

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Who Were the Highest-Paid Athletes in 2021?

The financial figures in sport are enormous. The highest-paid athletes in the world make tens of millions, or even hundreds of millions per year.

The global pandemic put a significant dent in the commercial aspect of many sports. Even though the teams and their owners earned significantly less during this period, individual athletes actually thrived.

According to the Forbes annual rankings of the world’s highest-paid athletes for 2021, the top 50 of them turned in a record-setting year and made nearly $2.8 billion in 12 months, beating 2019’s record total by more than $150 million.

Highlights of the Year

This year’s list had a multitude of names making the big bucks. Here are some of the highlights:

Connor McGregor is 2021’s highest-paid athlete

MMA fighter Connor McGregor tops the list with a whopping $180 million earned in 2021. According to McGregor, this has been a long time coming, who in 2016 infamously boasted to soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo that he’d overtake him one day as sports’ highest-paid star.

Roger Federer lands at the 7th spot

Roger Federer’s on-field earnings for 2021 were a mere $0.03 million, but he still lands in the 7th spot. Recovering from a knee injury, Roger Federer made nearly all of his $90 million in earnings from sponsorships.

Naomi Osaka is the only woman among the top 15 earners

Naomi Osaka is the highest-paid female athlete on this list and the only one to crack the top 15. Over the last year, she won her second Australian and U.S. Open titles, while also receiving media attention for her stances on mental health and racial equality.

Dak Prescott had the highest on-field earning

The highest on-field earning by any player was by Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott who earned $97.5 million in 2020. In March of 2021, Prescott signed a four-year, $160 million contract extension with the Cowboys, with a $66 million signing bonus.

Motor racing’s top earners

Seven-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton and newcomer and current world championship leader Max Verstappen are the only two from the sport of auto racing on the list.

Significance in Numbers

Let’s take a look at the most notable numbers in this year’s list:

What the Future Holds for the Highest-Paid Athletes

With contracts and endorsement deals growing bigger every year, the number of athletes breaking the $100 million mark will continue to increase.

While supermax contracts and weekly wages make the headlines, endorsement deals account for a significant portion of an athlete’s income. And that piece of the pie is growing steadily. The off-the-field earnings of the top 50 athletes reached $1.04 billion this year, compared with $556 million back in 2012.

If the last year has been any indication, socio-political messages and social media will likely play an essential part in how athletes are perceived and their endorsements are impacted as we go forward in the future.

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Politics

Mapped: The World’s Legal Government Systems

The political regimes of the world’s countries have changed over centuries. This map charts the nine government systems that rule the world today.

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Mapping The World’s Legal Government Systems

With over 200 countries existing across the world with unique cultures and traditions, one might assume that there are hundreds of types of government systems. But both historically and in modern times, that’s not the case.

Even while political regimes across these countries have changed over time, they’ve largely followed a few different types of governance. Today, every country can ultimately be classified into just nine broad forms of government systems.

This map by Truman Du uses information from Wikipedia to map the government systems that rule the world today.

Countries By Type of Government

It’s important to note that this map charts government systems according to each country’s legal framework.

Many countries have constitutions stating their de jure or legally recognized system of government, but their de facto or realized form of governance may be quite different.

Here is a list of the stated government system of UN member states and observers as of January 2023:

CountryConstitutional formHead of state
AfghanistanProvisionaln/a
AlbaniaRepublicCeremonial
AlgeriaRepublicExecutive
AndorraConstitutional monarchyCeremonial
AngolaRepublicExecutive
Antigua and BarbudaConstitutional monarchyCeremonial
ArgentinaRepublicExecutive
ArmeniaRepublicCeremonial
AustraliaConstitutional monarchyCeremonial
AustriaRepublicCeremonial
AzerbaijanRepublicExecutive
Bahamas, TheConstitutional monarchyCeremonial
BahrainConstitutional monarchyExecutive
BangladeshRepublicCeremonial
BarbadosRepublicCeremonial
BelarusRepublicExecutive
BelgiumConstitutional monarchyCeremonial
BelizeConstitutional monarchyCeremonial
BeninRepublicExecutive
BhutanConstitutional monarchyExecutive
BoliviaRepublicExecutive
Bosnia and HerzegovinaRepublicCeremonial
BotswanaRepublicExecutive
BrazilRepublicExecutive
BruneiAbsolute monarchyExecutive
BulgariaRepublicCeremonial
Burkina FasoProvisionaln/a
BurundiRepublicExecutive
CambodiaConstitutional monarchyCeremonial
CameroonRepublicExecutive
CanadaConstitutional monarchyCeremonial
Cape VerdeRepublicExecutive
Central African RepublicRepublicExecutive
ChadProvisionaln/a
ChileRepublicExecutive
China, People's Republic ofRepublicCeremonial
ColombiaRepublicExecutive
ComorosRepublicExecutive
Congo, Democratic Republic of theRepublicExecutive
Congo, Republic of theRepublicExecutive
Costa RicaRepublicExecutive
Côte d'IvoireRepublicExecutive
CroatiaRepublicCeremonial
CubaRepublicExecutive
CyprusRepublicExecutive
Czech RepublicRepublicCeremonial
DenmarkConstitutional monarchyCeremonial
DjiboutiRepublicExecutive
DominicaRepublicCeremonial
Dominican RepublicRepublicExecutive
East TimorRepublicExecutive
EcuadorRepublicExecutive
EgyptRepublicExecutive
El SalvadorRepublicExecutive
Equatorial GuineaRepublicExecutive
EritreaRepublicExecutive
EstoniaRepublicCeremonial
EswatiniAbsolute monarchyExecutive
EthiopiaRepublicCeremonial
FijiRepublicCeremonial
FinlandRepublicCeremonial
FranceRepublicExecutive
GabonRepublicExecutive
Gambia, TheRepublicExecutive
GeorgiaRepublicCeremonial
GermanyRepublicCeremonial
GhanaRepublicExecutive
GreeceRepublicCeremonial
GrenadaConstitutional monarchyCeremonial
GuatemalaRepublicExecutive
GuineaProvisionaln/a
Guinea-BissauRepublicExecutive
GuyanaRepublicExecutive
HaitiRepublicExecutive
HondurasRepublicExecutive
HungaryRepublicCeremonial
IcelandRepublicCeremonial
IndiaRepublicCeremonial
IndonesiaRepublicExecutive
IranRepublicExecutive
IraqRepublicCeremonial
IrelandRepublicCeremonial
IsraelRepublicCeremonial
ItalyRepublicCeremonial
JamaicaConstitutional monarchyCeremonial
JapanConstitutional monarchyCeremonial
JordanConstitutional monarchyExecutive
KazakhstanRepublicExecutive
KenyaRepublicExecutive
KiribatiRepublicExecutive
KuwaitConstitutional monarchyExecutive
KyrgyzstanRepublicExecutive
LaosRepublicExecutive
LatviaRepublicCeremonial
LebanonRepublicCeremonial
LesothoConstitutional monarchyCeremonial
LiberiaRepublicExecutive
LibyaProvisionaln/a
LiechtensteinConstitutional monarchyExecutive
LithuaniaRepublicExecutive
LuxembourgConstitutional monarchyCeremonial
MadagascarRepublicExecutive
MalawiRepublicExecutive
MalaysiaConstitutional monarchyCeremonial
MaldivesRepublicExecutive
MaliProvisionaln/a
MaltaRepublicCeremonial
Marshall IslandsRepublicExecutive
MauritaniaRepublicExecutive
MauritiusRepublicCeremonial
MexicoRepublicExecutive
MicronesiaRepublicExecutive
MoldovaRepublicCeremonial
MonacoConstitutional monarchyExecutive
MongoliaRepublicExecutive
MontenegroRepublicCeremonial
MoroccoConstitutional monarchyExecutive
MozambiqueRepublicExecutive
MyanmarProvisionaln/a
NamibiaRepublicExecutive
NauruRepublicExecutive
NepalRepublicCeremonial
NetherlandsConstitutional monarchyCeremonial
New ZealandConstitutional monarchyCeremonial
NicaraguaRepublicExecutive
NigerRepublicExecutive
NigeriaRepublicExecutive
North KoreaRepublicExecutive
North MacedoniaRepublicCeremonial
NorwayConstitutional monarchyCeremonial
OmanAbsolute monarchyExecutive
PakistanRepublicCeremonial
PalauRepublicExecutive
PalestineRepublicExecutive
PanamaRepublicExecutive
Papua New GuineaConstitutional monarchyCeremonial
ParaguayRepublicExecutive
PeruRepublicExecutive
PhilippinesRepublicExecutive
PolandRepublicCeremonial
PortugalRepublicExecutive
QatarConstitutional monarchyExecutive
RomaniaRepublicExecutive
RussiaRepublicExecutive
RwandaRepublicExecutive
Saint Kitts and NevisConstitutional monarchyCeremonial
Saint LuciaConstitutional monarchyCeremonial
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesConstitutional monarchyCeremonial
SamoaRepublicCeremonial
San MarinoRepublicExecutive
São Tomé and PríncipeRepublicExecutive
Saudi ArabiaAbsolute monarchyExecutive
SenegalRepublicExecutive
SerbiaRepublicCeremonial
SeychellesRepublicExecutive
Sierra LeoneRepublicExecutive
SingaporeRepublicCeremonial
SlovakiaRepublicCeremonial
SloveniaRepublicCeremonial
Solomon IslandsConstitutional monarchyCeremonial
SomaliaRepublicCeremonial
South AfricaRepublicExecutive
South KoreaRepublicExecutive
South SudanRepublicExecutive
SpainConstitutional monarchyCeremonial
Sri LankaRepublicExecutive
SudanProvisionaln/a
SurinameRepublicExecutive
SwedenConstitutional monarchyCeremonial
SwitzerlandRepublicExecutive
SyriaRepublicExecutive
TajikistanRepublicExecutive
TanzaniaRepublicExecutive
ThailandConstitutional monarchyCeremonial
TogoRepublicExecutive
TongaConstitutional monarchyExecutive
Trinidad and TobagoRepublicCeremonial
TunisiaRepublicExecutive
TurkeyRepublicExecutive
TurkmenistanRepublicExecutive
TuvaluConstitutional monarchyCeremonial
UgandaRepublicExecutive
UkraineRepublicExecutive
United Arab EmiratesConstitutional monarchyExecutive
United KingdomConstitutional monarchyCeremonial
United StatesRepublicExecutive
UruguayRepublicExecutive
UzbekistanRepublicExecutive
VanuatuRepublicCeremonial
Vatican CityAbsolute monarchyExecutive
VenezuelaRepublicExecutive
VietnamRepublicExecutive
YemenProvisionaln/a
ZambiaRepublicExecutive
ZimbabweRepublicExecutive

Let’s take a closer look at some of these systems.

Monarchies

Brought back into the spotlight after the death of Queen Elizabeth II of England in September 2022, this form of government has a single ruler. They carry titles from king and queen to sultan or emperor, and their government systems can be further divided into three modern types: constitutional, semi-constitutional, and absolute.

A constitutional monarchy sees the monarch act as head of state within the parameters of a constitution, giving them little to no real power. For example, King Charles III is the head of 15 Commonwealth nations including Canada and Australia. However, each has their own head of government.

On the other hand, a semi-constitutional monarchy lets the monarch or ruling royal family retain substantial political powers, as is the case in Jordan and Morocco. However, their monarchs still rule the country according to a democratic constitution and in concert with other institutions.

Finally, an absolute monarchy is most like the monarchies of old, where the ruler has full power over governance, with modern examples including Saudi Arabia and Vatican City.

Republics

Unlike monarchies, the people hold the power in a republic government system, directly electing representatives to form government. Again, there are multiple types of modern republic governments: presidential, semi-presidential, and parliamentary.

The presidential republic could be considered a direct progression from monarchies. This system has a strong and independent chief executive with extensive powers when it comes to domestic affairs and foreign policy. An example of this is the United States, where the President is both the head of state and the head of government.

In a semi-presidential republic, the president is the head of state and has some executive powers that are independent of the legislature. However, the prime minister (or chancellor or equivalent title) is the head of government, responsible to the legislature along with the cabinet. Russia is a classic example of this type of government.

The last type of republic system is parliamentary. In this system, the president is a figurehead, while the head of government holds real power and is validated by and accountable to the parliament. This type of system can be seen in Germany, Italy, and India and is akin to constitutional monarchies.

It’s also important to point out that some parliamentary republic systems operate slightly differently. For example in South Africa, the president is both the head of state and government, but is elected directly by the legislature. This leaves them (and their ministries) potentially subject to parliamentary confidence.

One-Party State

Many of the systems above involve multiple political parties vying to rule and govern their respective countries.

In a one-party state, also called a single-party state or single-party system, only one political party has the right to form government. All other political parties are either outlawed or only allowed limited participation in elections.

In this system, a country’s head of state and head of government can be executive or ceremonial but political power is constitutionally linked to a single political movement. China is the most well-known example of this government system, with the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China ruling as the de facto leader since 1989.

Provisional

The final form of government is a provisional government formed as an interim or transitional government.

In this system, an emergency governmental body is created to manage political transitions after the collapse of a government, or when a new state is formed. Often these evolve into fully constitutionalized systems, but sometimes they hold power for longer than expected.

Some examples of countries that are considered provisional include Libya, Burkina Faso, and Chad.

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