Bangalore, June 7: India captain MS Dhoni has climbed to the 16th position with an estimated earnings of $31.5 million in the latest Forbes' annual ranking of the world's 100 highest-paid athletes.
The list announced by Forbes on its website on Thursday (June 6), has American golfer Tiger Woods ($78.1 million) at the top while India's Sachin Tendulkar figures at 51st spot with $22 million.
It is for the first time that Dhoni has broken into the top 20 of the richest athletes list.
According to Forbes, Dhoni's total earnings are $31.5 million with salary and winnings making up $3.5m of that. From endorsements, he has reaped $28m.
In the report published on its website, Forbes wrote: "The captain of India's national cricket team is arguably the nation's biggest celebrity. Nearly half of Dhoni's 25 endorsements pay more than $1 million annually, including a three-year deal with former billionaire Vijay Mallya's United Breweries Group worth more than $5 million over three years.
"Mahi has also shown an ear for business by taking equity stakes or key roles with companies he endorses and his own Supersport World Championship motorcycle racing team."
On Tendulkar, Forbes said: "Tendulkar is beginning to lose corporate partners in the twilight of his storied career - Canon chose not to re-up when their deal expired last year - but his $1.2 million-per-year contract with Coca-Cola is worth more than most IPL players' entire salaries.
"The "Master Blaster" retired in May from the IPL, the source of over $2 million of his annual earnings. The retirement announcement came moments after the Mumbai Indians, for whom he's played since 2008, won their first ever championship."
16th position: MS Dhoni's earnings
Total Earnings: $31.5 million
Salary/winnings: $3.5 million
Endorsements: $28 million
51st spot: Sachin Tendulkar's earnings
Total Earnings: $22 million
Salary/winnings: $4 million
Endorsements: $18 million