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Sonny Bill Williams is reportedly set to become the first $30 million man in rugby league and rugby union, according to a staggering breakdown of the former All Blacks star’s career earnings.
The record $10 million, two-year contract with the Toronto Wolfpack in the Super League has already made him the highest earning star in the history of the two rugby codes and it could push him towards total career earnings of $30 million, according to The Daily Telegraph.
Williams has squeezed more money out of his code-hopping career than anyone else before him, completely justifying his decision to walk out on the Canterbury Bulldogs and rugby league in 2008.
According to the report, Williams has earned more than $26 million in his 16-year football career, and seven-fight boxing career.
Combined with a long-term $2.5 million ambassadorial sponsorship deal with adidas, Williams’ earning are set to reach $28 million by the time he sees out his deal with Toronto.
A breakdown of Money Bill Williams’ contract earnings, fight deals and an international Adidas sponsorship since 2004 when he started out at the Canterbury Bulldogs reveals an extraordinary pathway to unprecedented wealth in the football codes
The 34-year-old’s fortune reportedly doubles the career earnings of Melbourne Storm legend and future NRL immortal Cameron Smith — and he’s done it much easier.
While Smith has had to play more than 500 professional rugby league games for his earnings, Williams has only played 299 career matches across his NRL and rugby carers.
Williams’ new $10 million deal with Toronto Wolfpack in the English Super League even catapults him over the great English rugby star Jonny Wilkinson and All Black legend Dan Carter in the earnings stakes.
A reported return to the boxing ring in October, 2020, to fight either Barry Hall or Paul Gallen would reportedly push Williams to the $30 million mark.
Williams and Gallen were reportedly both in line for a $2 million payday before Gallen was held to a controversial majority draw when he faced AFL great Barry Hall in their Code War fight in Melbourne earlier this month.
Williams has said he will fight either of the pair.
A re-match between Gallen and Hall in 2020 is expected to decide which of the two stars will earn the payday against Williams.
The fight is clearly a passion project for Williams — he doesn’t need the money after his Toronto contract.
The record deal will see Williams earn around four times the wages paid to NRL superstar Daly Cherry-Evans ($10 million over eight seasons) and AFL superstar Lance Franklin ($10 million over nine seasons).
Toronto has a competitive advantage of being able to sign Williams as a Super League marquee player where just $300,000 of his salary will be included in the team’s salary cap.
“Sonny is a phenomenal athlete,” Toronto owner, and Australian mining magnate David Argyle told Fox Sports back in February.
“He is rugby’s LeBron James and we see his recruitment as bigger than when David Beckham joined LA Galaxy. He is box office and puts bums on seats,”
Wolfpack chairman and CEO Robert Hunter also described Williams as “rugby’s LeBron James”.
“He will enhance the global game of rugby by being in Toronto,” said Wolfpack head coach Brian McDermott, who won three Super League titles as a player and four as a coach.
“We are signing a great player who has hunger to be successful in Super League much as he was in the NRL and rugby union.”
SONNY BILL’S FORTUNE
NRL and rugby union earnings: $23.85m
Boxing earnings: $1.5 million
Adidas earnings: $2.5 million
Potential Gallen-Hall fight earnings: $2 million
Total carer earnings: $29.85 million