Which Sport Athletes Earn the Most in Endorsements?

Football is the number one sport across the world, with its popularity booming as more and more women take up the sport. The TV audience for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Final between France and Croatia had an estimated 1.1 billion viewers at its peak. That compares to the Super Bowl which averages around 150 million viewers worldwide.

It’s no surprise therefore, that the world’s best football players attract lucrative endorsement deals from companies eager to associate themselves with their sporting prowess. Mohammad Salah, the Liverpool FC and Egyptian national, has translated his popularity into a variety of sponsorships, most notably a multi-year $56.7 million deal with Adidas that accounts for more than one-third of his annual income. Salah also boasts deals with DHL International, Electronic Arts, ExxonMobil and Vodafone. According to the latest online betting football odds, Salah is on course to add yet more trophies to his CV this season, further boosting his earnings potential.

Another English Premier League player that has a money-spinning endorsement deal is the French international footballer, Paul Pogba who plays for Manchester United. The World Cup winner, regarded as one of the best midfielders in the world, signed a £31 million ten-year deal in 2016 with Adidas. But which other athletes from the world of sports are earning the big endorsement bucks?

Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods is the most successful golfer of all time and one of the best-known sportsmen in the world. Despite edging towards the end of his career, Woods name is still sought after by would be sponsors and he remains one of the highest-paid athletes of all time with his total wealth exceeding over $1 Billion and only 10% of that attributed to prize money. Woods is estimated to earn over $60 million a year from endorsements, thanks in large part to his long time Nike deal. Other brands that sponsor Woods are Rolex, Monster Energy, Discovery Communications, Bridgestone, Hero MotoCorp, Upper Deck and TaylorMade.

Dak Prescott

The Dallas Cowboys QB signed a four-year $160 million dollar contract extension last year, with $66 million signing bonus included. The high-profile Cowboy also has substantial endorsement earnings with his multiple sponsorship deals with brands such as Pepsi, Sleep Number, Dannon Yogurt, Campbell’s Soup, 7-Eleven, AT&T and Beats by Dre and Anheuser-Busch. But it’s Prescott’s recent split with Adidas and subsequent five-year agreement with the Jordan brand that has boosted his earnings into the elite athlete territory.

Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes Formula One driver, Lewis Hamilton, is one of the highest paid sports people in the world. His glittering driving career is only matched by his glittering array of endorsements which include Tommy Hilfiger, Monster Energy, Puma, IWCSony, Bose, Bell HelmetsMV Agusta Motorcycles and more. Hamilton is also the official ambassador of the hugely popular racing game, Gran Turismo Sport

Forbes reported that in 2021, the British driver made a massive £8.8 million through off-field earnings alone, a figure that dwarfs the rest of the pit lane. With an Instagram following of over 26 million and 7 million Twitter followers, Hamilton is not only the best driver in the history of the sport, but also a worldwide marketing phenomenon.

Roger Federer

One of the greatest players to have ever graced the game, Roger Federer is a sponsor’s dream; Clean cut, serial winner, international appeal, the Swiss has it all. In 2020, Forbes named Federer the highest-paid athlete in the world with over $106 million in earnings, but when you realise that $100 million of that came from endorsements, you get some idea of Federer’s value to well-known brands.

In total, 13 companies pay him between $3 million and $30 million for the privilege of having his name associated with their brand. They include; Wilson Sporting Goods, Uniqlo, Rolex, Mercedes-Benz, Credit Suisse and Barilla.

Perhaps the greatest indication of Federer’s earning potential was his 2018 deal with Uniqlo. After earning $10 million a year with Nike, the Swiss decided to walk away and sign a $300 million, ten-year deal with the Japanese company, making it one of the biggest sports endorsement deals of all time.

Steph Curry 

The Golden State star, Steph Curry, is already one of the highest paid athletes in the world, with a contract that earns him around $35 million annually. More impressive however is his endorsement income which comes in at a whopping $42 million a year, thanks to one of the largest shoe contracts of all time. 

Signed in 2013 (and recently extended until 2024), Curry’s deal with Under Armour is one of the biggest athlete endorsement deals of all time and even includes an equity stake in the company. His other brand sponsorships include: Rakuten, Infiniti Motors, Callaway Golf and FTX, a cryptocurrency exchange.

Today’s elite athletes earn big money through brand endorsements and as competition in the sportswear and shoe market increases, don’t be surprised to see even more record-breaking deals in the future.

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