It’s no secret many top athletes often earn far more from endorsements than from prize money or salaries. This, however, is rarified air only available to a chosen few.
Some athletes can earn this kind of revenue purely from their success in the sport. But often, the exceptional earners also have a brand that transcends their performance. These athletes may leverage their good looks or outlandish personalities into national, newsmaker status.
These “endorsers” can also negatively affect a brand. Take for example, soccer star Cristiano Renaldo’s recent removal of two Coca Cola bottles from his table at a press conference. The move resulted in a $4B drop in share price for the soft drink company.
The list below features the highest paid athlete endorsers in 2021:
- Maria Sharapova, Tennis/Endorsements: $297 million during her entire career
Top Brands: Nike, Motorola, Colgate-Palmolive, Tag Heuer, Land Rover, PepsiCo, Evian, Head, Porsche
- Derrick Rose, Basketball – New York Knicks/Endorsements: $185 million over 14 years
Top Brands: Adidas
- Roger Federer, Tennis/Endorsements: $100 million/year
Top brands: Rolex, Mercedes Benz, Uniqlo, Wilson, Mercedes-Benz, Jura, Lindt Chocolate, Credit Suisse, Sunrise, Net Jets, Moet & Chandon, Gillette, Procter & Gamble
- Tiger Woods, Golf/Endorsements: $60 million/year
Top brands: Nike, Kowa, Upper Deck, Hero Motor Group, Monster Energy, Rolex, Discovery Communications, Bridgestone, TaylorMade
- Lebron James, Basketball – Los Angeles Lakers/Endorsements: $60 million/year
Top brands: Nike, Coca-Cola, Nike, Upper Deck, McDonald’s, Samsung, Microsoft
- Cristiano Ronaldo, Soccer – Juventus/Endorsements: $45 million/year
Top brands: Nike, Herbalife, Jacob & Co., Toyota, KFC, Tag Heuer, Samsung, Konami, Unilever, MTG, DAZN, Altice
- Stephen Curry, Basketball – Golden State Warriors/Endorsements: $44 million/year
Top brands: Under Armour, Samsung Electronics, Coca-Cola, Kia Motors, Fanatics, Chase, Callaway Golf
- Phil Mickelson, Golf/Endorsements: $40 million/year
Top brands: Rolex, Callaway Golf, Heineken, KPMG, Amgen, Intrepid Financial Partners
- Kevin Durant, Basketball – Golden State Warriors/Endorsements: $35 million/year
Top brands: Nike, Sonica, Sparkling Ice, Nike, EA Sports, Gatorade, Panini America, Sprint, Degree Men
- Naomi Osaka – Tennis /Endorsements: $34 million/year
Top brands: Yonex, Procter & Gamble, Mastercard, Body Armor, All Nippon Airways, Nissan, Nike, Nissin Foods Holdings, Shiseido