Most Marketable Athletes
Sports is all about using honing personal skill with diligent practice, and translating all that to a win on the field. These on-field wins help the players win a lot off the field, as well, in great many ways. While they win the love and loyalty of many people from around the world, there is something else that sports stars get, i.e. brand endorsements. Every now and then, players of high popularity get approached by brands to represent them, and this increases their fame and wealth by manifold, thus creating a win-win situation for the player. Besides dexterity, if the player has an attractive appearance, it becomes all the easier for him/her to become magnet for brand endorsements. The more skilful and good-looking a player is, the more world-class and wealthy brands want him/her to represent them. So, let us look at some of the Most Marketable Athletes as brand ambassadors, with the top endorsements.
Top 10 Most Marketable Athletes in the World
The American basketball player with the Oklahoma City Thunder of the NBA has snatched up NBA titles such as Most Valuable Player Award, Rookie of the Year Award and four scoring titles, along with an Olympic gold medal, since 2007. The other thing that he snatched is a 7-year endorsement deal with Nike worth a whopping $8.5 million a year. With the deal expiring next year, he has renewed deal with Nike, who battled it out with sports apparel company Under Thunder who offered him $265-285 million. The 10-year deal will fetch Durant almost $300 million and a $50 million retirement package. He has deals with 2K Sports, General Electric, Panini, Gatorade and Sprint, too.
Canadian Ice Hockey phenomenon, Sidney Crosby, captains the Pittsburgh Penguins of the NHL and has proven to be an amazingly talented player during his career from 2005 till the present. That is why, Reebok saw it fit to approach him with an offer to strike a 7-year deal reportedly worth $70 million. In fact, Reebok served to Crosby before he even laced his skates in the NHL, back in 2005, which has extended since then, helping him earn a mind-boggling amount of $10 million a year. Reebok also announced in 2010 that they would be roping in Crosby for the richest endorsement in the history of NHL. Crosby also has deals with Gatorade, Tim Hortons and Bell.
The youngest player to reach 30,000 points in the history of NBA, Bryant is the all-time highest scorer for Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers shooting guard has also scored high when it comes to endorsements. His earlier endorsements include a $48 million deal with Adidas, alongside, McDonald’s, Spalding, Upper Deck, Ferrero SpA’s Nutella, Russell Corporation and The Coca-Cola Company. In 2003, he was signed for 5 years by Nike for $40 million. In 2008, he promoted Nike’s Hyperdunk shoes, and went an endorsement spree with various lines by the brand. He has also had a deal with the Turkish Airlines.
This tennis superstar, who remained in the top position as ranked by Women’s Tennis Association five times, is one of the hottest players in the sports arena, and is celebrated for her beauty and relationships. She has an estimated $70 million contract for 8 years with the world-renowned shoe brand, Nike. She signed the contract in 2010. As per the reports of Bloomsberg, she also receives a percentage of sales from the product line, Pretty. Apart from that, she has endorsed several brands such as mobile phone company Motorola, watch brand Tag Heuer, jeweller Tiffany, etc. She has appeared in commercials of Land Rover and Canon. Besides many such feathers in her hat, a new one added in 2013 is a 3-year deal with Porsche.
The captain of the Portugal national team managed to become the most expensive player in the world with his £80 million transfer from Manchester United to Real Madrid where he plays as forward. Since his Man U days, he has signed many sponsorships. He became the spokesmodel for the underwear and jeans collections of Emporio Armani in 2009, and the next year, he re-upped his contract with Nike till 2014. For the next five years, he will reportedly earn a massive $11 million a year from Nike. In his entire football career, he has only played in their Mercurial Vapor Boots. He also had sponsorship deals with Fly Emirates, Tag Heuer, KFC, and Coca-Cola, to name just a few.
Jamaican Olympic sprinter, Usain Bolt, or the fastest person ever, is the first man to hold world records for both 100 metres, as well as 200 metres since 1977 when fully automatic time measurements got implemented into the sport. The ever-smiling, jovial Bolt is the face of Puma. His sponsorship deal is estimated to be worth $10 million a year. That is quite some cash for running even a few seconds in a race. His contracts with Puma have lasted since his 2002 win, and Bolt has been seen wearing Puma shoes on the track as part of the sponsorship deal. It also has an endorsement deal with Gatorade, the manufacturer of sports-themed beverages and food products.
The American baseball shortstop may be in his 20th and last season in MLB for the New York Yankees, but, the five-time World Series champion is financially set for many more years to come. Jeter has been seen in ad campaigns for Gillette, Ford, Gatorade, Nike, etc. and he also endorses the cologne named Driven in collaboration with Avon. In 2006, he was the second-highest paid endorser from baseball, after being named the most marketable player in Sports Surveys of 2003, 2005 and 2010. His contract with Nike’s Jordan Brand is reported to be worth $100 million, and will be in place for 10 years. Jordan Brand has even commemorated his final season with their commercial.
The on-court performances the forward with Cleveland Cavaliers of the NBA have not only gained hi some coveted titles in this sphere, but have also translated to some pretty big wins off the court as he has landed innumerable endorsement deals, leading to the accumulation of quite a fortune. He is in contract with several brands like Dunkin’ Brands, McDonald’s, State Farm, Samsung, Coca-Cola, Audemars Piguet and Nike. His original contract with Nike, worth $90 million was a 7-year deal and was renewed in 2010, letting James earn $10 million annually, as per the reports. In fact, Nike had endorsed him back in 2003, even before he had been selected in the NBA draft. at the moment he is the Highest Paid NBA Player.
The owner of the top selling jersey in the NBA for nearly 2 years, Wade, of the Miami Heat, is one of the most popular basketball players. He has endorsement deals with companies like Gatorade, Topps, T-Mobile, Sean John, Staples and Lincoln, and has his own lines with Converse shoes and Sidekick phones. After a 6-year collaboration with Converse, he shifted from Converse to Nike’s Jordan Brand in 2009. In 2012, he signed a deal with the little-known company, Li-Ning, from China, leaving everyone surprised. It was then realized that Li-Ning offered him a sweet deal of nearly $10 million a year and 2-5% stake, and will be earning $250 million through the deal.
Former English footballer, David Beckham, has had a global impact on the hearts of women, as well as the top brands in the world, thanks to his amazing skill and killer looks, as well as attitude and style. His endorsement deals throughout his career made him the highest-paid player of his time. With Adidas, he signed a lifetime contract worth $160 million in 2003. He earned almost half of the endorsement fee upfront, and is entitled to earn a percentage of their profits on all his branded Adidas products. His other endorsements include collaborations with Pepsi Co., Armani, Burger King, Samsung, and even promoted the theme parks for Disney.
There are many other athletes who have some expensive sponsorships. This trend has been in vogue for a long time. One of most popular endorsements of earlier times was the “Only the ball should bounce” billboard campaign by yesteryear tennis player, Anna Kournikova with Berlei. Sometimes, the players and the brands like to keep the deal amounts undisclosed. Outgoing Texas A&M quarterback, Johnny Manziel, is reportedly signing a contract with Nike for the largest deal that has ever been given to a NFL rookie.
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