Over the next few mins the Facts-Hub will reveal who we believe are the 20 highest-paid New Zealand sports people and look at how they make a living on and off the pitch. Alongside that we will also look at the highest-paid players in each of our major sports and how our sports stars compare to those from overseas. In the course of making this list we have talked to administrators, agents, athletes and those who cover them for a living. Unlike overseas, and in particular the US, sports salaries here are not widely known, so this is not an exact science, but a close approximation. None of these sporting heroes are going to challenge the Graeme Harts of this country anytime soon, but we think they’re still doing pretty nicely.
20 James McDonald (jockey) $800,000
Rated one of the brightest talents in the saddle in world racing, young jockey James McDonald is cashing in across the Tasman. The 22-year-old claimed the 2013/14 Sydney jockeys’ premiership in July when he notched up his 72nd win in the final meet on the Sydney racing calendar. It was only his second full season in Sydney.
With 305 career wins, McDonald’s rider earnings amount to more than $28 million, with about $1.4 million of that going straight into his pockets. A big chunk – about $800,000 – of his career earnings have come in the past 12 months.
His big win of the season came in April when he claimed the Golden Slipper at Rosehill, taking home A$150,000 for his efforts. The youngster celebrated by buying a new BMW, and is now planning his next big purchase – an apartment on Sydney’s Coogee Beach.