Professional athletes are no longer just competitors, they are walking billboards. Sports superstars like Michael Jordan, Jeff Gordon, and Phil Mickelson are plastered with logos and trademarks. Even Roger Federer at the Australian Open can be seen with a swoosh across his forehead.
It is hard not to notice that these types of athletes are full-fledged businessmen, and two of the most notable are Tiger Woods and LeBron James.Tiger Woods takes in an absurd amount of money yearly. He has generously donated his face to several different companies, like Nike, allowing them to market his image to the public. In doing so, Woods is able to generate additional revenue on top of his tournament winnings. According to Forbes magazine, it is estimated that by the end of 2009, his net worth will hit the billion-dollar mark.
LeBron James has a similar story. Besides taking in millions of dollars playing basketball of the Cleveland Cavaliers, he also has many starring roles in television commercials. You may remember him in the following advertisements for: Nike, Coke, Upper Deck, Bubblicious, and Cub Cadet.
And yes, I did say Bubblicious!
While Tiger and LeBron may be the easiest athletes to identify in advertisements, they are far from the only ones guilty of excessive endorsement deals.
Here is a list of the endorsement incomes of the top 10 athletic superstars for 2007.
1. Tiger Woods: (est.) $100 million
2. Phil Mickelson: (est.) $47 million
3. LeBron James: (est.) $25 million
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr.: (est.) $25 million
5. Michelle Wie: (est.) $19.5 million
6. Kobe Bryant: (est.) $16 million
7. Jeff Gordon: (est.) $15 million
8. Shaquille O’Neal: (est.) $15 million
9. Peyton Manning: (est.) $13 million
10. Dwyane Wade: (est.) $12 million
Wow, if I only knew then what I know now, I think I may have chosen a different profession.
-With files from CNN.com