Following the kick-off of the 2015 Rugby World Cup, the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) has calculated how the top ten earners in rugby compare to the top ten earners in soccer.
New Zealand’s Dan Carter is the highest earner in rugby, earning around £1.4 million (R29 million) a year from his club. Ronaldo is his equivalent in soccer, making around £33.8 million (R700 million) a year.
The massive soccer salaries reflect the huge TV deals and club revenues which rugby would hope to emulate in the future.
The last TV deal for the French Top 14 League, the richest league in rugby, was just under £60 million (R1.3 billion) a year from the broadcaster Canal+, while the latest deal for the Premier League, the richest league in soccer, was for £5.14 billion (R107 billion) over three years from broadcasters Sky and BT; £1.71 billion (R36 billion) a year.
Top rugby earners (per year)
Dan Carter (NZ/Racing Metro) – R29 million
Matt Giteau (Aus/Toulon) – R18 million
Leigh Halfpenny (Wales/Toulon) – R13 million
Sam Burgess (England/Bath) – R10 million
Jonathan Sexton (Ireland/Racing Metro) – R10.3 million
Bryan Habana (SA/Toulon) – R990 000
Bakkies Botha (SA/Toulon) – R814 000
Top soccer earners (per year)
Christiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) – R700 million
Lionel Messi (Barcelona) – R700 million
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (PSG) – R445 million
Gareth Bale (Real Madrid) – R347 million
James Rodriquez (Real Madrid) – R332 million