Game is second on sportsmen's payday

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The Independent Online
The highest-paid sportsman in the world will earn more than $30m ( pounds 19m) this year - but only $10,000 of his earnings will come from playing sport. Michael Jordan, who was the biggest name in American basketball, retired from the sport last year and spent this summer playing minor league baseball, for which he was paid around $1,200 a month.

The switch, however, has had little effect on his earning power. His total income may have dropped from the $36m he earned last year, but he is still by far the best-paid sportsman for the third year in succession. Another basketball player, Shaquille O'Neal, came closest to matching Jordan's earnings this year with $16.7m.

The figures are revealed in the annual list of the 40 highest-paid sportsmen compiled by the US magazine Forbes. It shows earnings from playing and those from endorsements and appearance fees.

Off-the-field activities account for the vast majority of the income of most of the leading earners - Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer may no longer be leading contenders on the golf course, but their business acumen remains untouched. Between them they won only $400,000 this year, but their off-course earnings totalled $28.4m. The sportsmen earning the most directly from sport were Gerhard Berger (motor racing) and Michael Moorer (boxing).

As if women did not need confirmation that big-money sport is a man's world, only two women, both tennis players, appear in the top 40. Steffi Graf makes 19th place with $8m and Gabriela Sabatini 39th place with $4.9m.

Nigel Mansell, in 10th place, is the highest paid British sportsman in the list at $11.3m.

Footballers are sport's poor relations. Only one footballer, the Italian Roberto Baggio, makes the list, scraping into 35th place with $5.3m.

(Table omitted)

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