On Tuesday, Sportico released its list of the Top 100 highest-paid athletes. Conor McGregor topped the list, netting $208 million over the trailing 12 months (the $170 million he earned from the sale of Proper No. Twelve, his Irish whiskey brand, was more than any other athlete grossed during the period).

No league (or sport) had more athletes on the list than the NFL (the NBA trailed right behind), despite the majority of pro football’s highest paid players earning little in the way of off-field revenue. Of the 32 NFL players that made the list, 23 took in less than $1 million in non-football related income last year.

Basketball, soccer, tennis and golf stars also benefit from the visibility their sports afford. “Football players wear helmets, which makes it much more difficult to get a sense of identification with their facial features, and there are more players,” Steinberg said, so naturally a smaller percentage of them will stand out. One must look no further than a list of athletes with the largest social following to see football players aren’t as widely recognized as stars in other leagues. According to Hookit, just three NFL players were among the 50 most followed athletes in 2019 (JJ Watt, Russell Wilson and Tom Brady).

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