Top Athletes With Expensive Endorsement Deals | Roger Federer Leads The List With Earning Of $85 Million From Sponsorships

Top Athletes from all sports are sponsored by various brands. With Sponsorship deals, the Atheletes became the face of the brand. Brands endorsing Atheletes is nothing new. The primary source of income for athletes has shifted predominately towards endorsement deals. Below we’ve rounded up the 10 most valuable Athletes With Expensive Endorsement Deals in Sports history.

Athletes With Expensive Endorsement Deals

The top 10 earners in sports bring in over $400 million a year in sponsorship alone. If you include salaries and prize money this figure would be over half a billion dollars.

10). Kei Nishikori – $33 million

  • Sport: Tennis
  • Brand: Uniqlo
  • Start of endorsement: 2016 (2026)

Japanese tennis star Kei Nishikori signed a potentially record-breaking deal with Uniqlo back in 2016. It is rumored to be $50 million and at the time, saw him earning more than World No. 1 Novak Djokovic at the same brand.

Nishikori is the Top Japanese tennis player. The popularity helped him to earn millions from endorsement deals. His Endorsement portfolio includes 16 sponsors. And out of 16, the top sponsors are Uniqlo, Wilson, Nike, Procter & Gamble, Jaguar, and Tag Heuer.

9). Rory McIlroy – $34 million

  • Sport: Golf
  • Brand: Nike
  • Start of endorsement: 2013 (2023)

The American Sports Wear Giant Nike keeps popping up in the sporting arena as it is the largest sponsor of athletes in the world. In 2013, British golfer Rory McIlroy joined Nike on a 10-year deal worth $200 million. The deal requires him to sell a certain amount of clothing and equipment for the brand.

The Northern Irish golfer also inked a long-term deal with TaylorMade in 2017. Other endorsement deals include Omega and Upper Deck.

8). Kevin Durant – $34 million

  • Sport: NBA (Brooklyn Nets)
  • Brand: Nike
  • Start of endorsement: 2014 (2024)

Brooklyn Nets Small Forward, Kevin Durant, signed a 10-year deal with Nike in 2014 worth up to $300 million. It includes a $50million golden handshake payment upon retirement.

Durant also has sizable endorsement Deals with Beats, American Family Insurance, BBVA, Sparkling Ice, Panini, and NBA 2K. His endorsement deals collectively awarded him $34 million per year.

7). Phil Mickelson – $36 million

  • Sport: Golf
  • Brand:  merchant bank
  • Start of endorsement: 2017

Phil at the age of 49 is earning an estimated $36 million from endorsement deals. In 2017, Phil and his longtime sponsor, Barclays, parted ways after 15 years together. However, The golfer quickly filled the opening in his endorsement portfolio with the merchant bank, Intrepid Financial Partners.

He also added a deal with Workday, which includes the logo of the human resources firm on Mickelson’s golf shirts during tournaments. Mickelson also pitches for Amgen, ExxonMobil, KPMG, Rolex, Grayhawk, and the Greenbrier.

6). Lionel Messi – $37 million

  • Sport: Football (Paris Saint-German)
  • Brand: Adidas
  • Start of endorsement: 2006 (lifetime deal)

Despite being the second-highest-paid player in the world in 2021, Leo Messi’s sponsorship earnings don’t match with his Base Salary. He is the highest-earning athlete by Adidas.

Lionel Messi extended his long-time partnership with Adidas signing a lifetime deal, which will see him through to the end of his career with the German brand. Apart from Adidas, he is the face of brands like Pepsi, Lays, etc.

5). Steph Curry – $42 million

  • Sport: Basketball (NBA – Golden State Warriors)
  • Brand: Under Armour
  • Start of endorsement: 2013 (through 2024)

Steph Curry’s annual Contract with Golden State Warriors is worth $34.9 million per year. However, his Earning from endorsement is much more than his contract. He has an endorsement income of $42 million.

His most significant deal is his shoe contract with Under Armour which is reportedly worth $20m. Other deals include his role as global brand ambassador for Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten agreed in 2019 and endorsement deals with Nissan, JPMorgan Chase, Brita, Verizon, and Vivo smartphones

This makes Curry the fourth-highest endorsement deal of any athlete globally, and one of the highest endorsed athletes of all time.

3). LeBron James – $54 million

  • Sport: basketball (NBA – Los Angeles Lakers)
  • Brand: Nike
  • Start of endorsement: 2003 (lifetime deal)

king of NBA, Lebron James is considered to be one of the biggest basketball stars post-Micheal Jordan era. Even at the start of his career, He turned down a $10 million check from Reebok at the age of 18.

Tops brands like Nike, Coca-Cola, Beats by Dre, and Kia Motor sponsor him. The NBA’s top pitchman recently added Intel and Verizon to his endorsement deals.

Nike currently pays $54 million per year to the Lebron. His lifetime deal with Nike could net him more than $1 billion by the time he’s 64. Also worth mentioning that Nike is the biggest sponsor of the sport globally.

3). Tiger Woods – $54 million

  • Sport: Golf
  • Brand: Nike
  • Start of endorsement: 1996

If the 2009 infidelity scandal has not happened, He would be the first athlete to make $1 billion. At that time, his Nike endorsements equaled the biggest endorsement deal for a pro athlete, and Tiger was one of the most endorsed athletes in the world.

His deal with Nike and EA Sport awarded him annually the most chunk from $54 million. Apart from these two, He has added deals with TaylorMade, Bridgestone, and Monster Energy in recent years. Other current partners include Hero MotoCorp, Kowa, Full Swing, and Upper Deck.

2). Cristiano Ronaldo – $55 million

  • Sport: Football (Manchester United)
  • Brand: Nike
  • Start of endorsement: 2003 (lifetime deal)

Ronaldo has been one of the biggest names in football for almost two decades. In 1110 career games, Ronaldo has 807 goals and 301 assists. He won the Ballon d’Or five times. 

He was the first footballer who earns $1 billion from salaries and bonuses over his career. A lifetime endorsement deal with Nike is set to exceed $1 Billion making him arguably the richest of all Nike-sponsored athletes in the world.

Ronaldo earns $55 million from endorsements deals and partnerships with brands including Nike, Herbalife, Clear, and his ever-expanding CR7-branded portfolio that includes perfume, underwear, eyewear, hotels, gyms, and more. He is the third highest-paid athlete globally and Thanks to Deal with Nike, he has the 2nd most expensive Endorsement deal.

1). Roger Federer – $85 million

Sport: Tennis
Brand: Uniqlo
Start of endorsement: 2018

The GOAT of tennis also happens to be at the top of the list of Athletes With Expensive Endorsement Deals. He is the highest-earning sportsperson at the age of 41.

In July 2018 Federer signed a 10 year deal with Japanese brand Uniqlo worth a reported $300 million over 10 years. This replaced his long-term deal with Nike. His latest pact is with pasta brand Barilla. The deal runs longer than five years and is expected to net Fed roughly $40 million.

Apart from these two, His other sponsorship partners include Nike, Wilson, Credit Suisse, Mercedes, Rolex, Lindt, Jura, Moet & Chandon, Sunrise, and NetJets.

FAQs Reagrding Athletes With Expensive Endorsement Deals

How much does Nike pay in endorsements a year?

Nike is one of the biggest sponsors in the world. Nike Spends $6 billion per year on Athlete endorsement and sponsorship deals.

Who has a lifetime contract with Nike?

Cristiano Ronaldo has a lifetime contract with Nike, he is considered to be the highest-paid athlete in the world.

Which athlete has the most earnings from endorsements?

Swiss Tennis Player, Roger Federer has earned the most money from endorsements. He earned $85 million.

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