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In Pictures: Athlete’s Product Endorsement

There is a whole lot of money in the world of sports off the field—Kipp takes a quick look at some of the most successful product-endorsing-money-minting athletes of our days.

June 15, 2011 3:40 by

  • We were reading about Chinese tennis sensation Li Na and were amazed to learn of the dramatic affect her recent win may have on the Chinese sports sponsorship market which is currently worth Dh7.34 billion. And while Li Na already endorses Nike products, Rolex watches and Haagen-Dazs ice cream, a quick look at the range of products sportsmen endorse will reveal Li Na has a long way to go. Here’s a quick round up of some of the most successful endorsements sportsman (yes, sportsman, there are no women on this list…sigh) have secured.

  • With his polished good looks, excellent skills with a football and celebrity wife, is it any surprise that David Beckham is nothing short of a product endorsement mogul? We are talking about a whopping $32 million from endorsement a year. What does he endorse? Well, what doesn’t he endorse might be a more pertinent question: from a $9-million-deal with
    Gillette, to sunglasses for Police, clothes for Marks & Spencer,  Pepsi , Vodaphone to Brylcreem, Beckham has a never ending list of endorsements.

  • When a tabloid photograph of Olympic champion Michael Phelps smoking pot was released, Phelps lost his $500,000 deal with Kellogg’s and it looked like it was all over for Phelps. The 14-time Olympic gold medalist did, however, bounce back in the world of product endorsements no more than 8 months after the controversy.

  • Talk about random endorsements, and you can’t help mention the George Foreman grill. Not only did the lean-mean-grilling-machine gather thousands and thousands of followers but it did also create a lot of spin-offs including the George Foreman Signature Collection -- a clothing line available in the Casual Male Big & Tall stores and let us not forget the Next Grilleration (ever leaner and even meaner).

  • Something of a deity for Indian cricket crazy fans, Sachin Tendulkar has endorsed more than a 100 products over the past 20 years (and that is just a conservative estimate). Who hasn’t seen the Little Master’s ads for Pepsi, ANZ Grindlays Visa, MRF, Britannia, Boost, Adidas, TVS, Aviva Life Insurance, Phillips, BPL Sanyo, TVS, Reynolds, Fiat Palio, Adidas, Boost, Sunfeast, National Egg Coordination Committee, Airtel and even the Royal Bank of Scotland?

  • Though Manny Pacquiao hasn’t yet struck the product endorsement gold just yet, experts say he has an earning potential of over $50 million from commercial endorsements. Currently Pacquiao endorses Nike, Hewlett-Packard (HP) and State Street Produce, a San Antonio-based fresh food supplier, though we are keen to see what he will add to the list.

  • With 7 championship titles, 91 race victories and 154 top-three finishes, Schumacher apparently earned $650 million in salary and endorsements deals over the years—his most famous endorsement probably came when he provided the voice of a Ferrari in the Pixar flick Cars. And if you struggled to guess the brands some of the other athletes on this list endorse, Schumacher shouldn’t be as difficult. After all, his bright red Ferrari team driving suit had the brands, including, Marlboro cigarettes, Shell motor oil, Vodafone and FedEx printed on it.

  • Before the controversy Tiger Woods was the world's most marketable athlete—in fact it is estimated that from 1996-2007 Woods earned $600 million from product endorsements.  Woods signed deals with General Motors, Titleist, General Mills, American Express, Accenture, and Nike, Inc., a 5-year, $105 million contract extension with Nike, Buick, TAG Heuer and even Gillette Champions. At the height of it all, Woods income from product endorsement in 2007, totaled to nothing less than an impressive $100 million.

  • And last but not the least, how about UAE rally champion Mohammad Bin Sulayem, who is also the current vice-president of the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA). He has been endorsing Tag Heuer for the past four years.


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