A lot of people do not realize how much more a successful athlete makes off of the endorsements and sponsorships throughout their career. This often greatly exceeds the actual money that they make from the sport itself. The most successful of these endorsed athletes are given the term brand ambassador, and below you will be introduced to the ten most successful brand ambassadors based on their general net worth annually based on their various endorsements and sponsors for promoting various brands while they compete and away from the sport.
Table of Page Contents
- 10. Kobe Bryant (NBA, Los Angeles Lakers)
- 9. Mahendra Singh Dhoni (ODI – India)
- 8. Cristiano Ronaldo (La Liga – Real Madrid)
- 7. Novak Djokovic (ATP)
- 6. Rory McIlroy (PGA)
- 5. Kevin Durant (NBA – Oklahoma City Thunder)
- 4. Lebron James (NBA, Cleveland Cavaliers)
- 3. Phil Mickelson (PGA)
- 2. Tiger Woods (PGA)
- 1. Roger Federer (ATP)
Following are the Top 10 Sport Stars Who are Also Brand Ambassadors
10. Kobe Bryant (NBA, Los Angeles Lakers)
The NBA offers up 3 of the most widely endorsed brand ambassadors on this list. While Kobe Bryant has played his final season with the Lakers, he is still worth quite a lot of money on an annual basis due to his agreements with the various products that he has committed to showcasing in his day to day life on and off the court. His largest contributor to his ambassador status is an agreement that was made with the athletic drink giant BodyArmor. All in all, as of 2015, Kobe was pulling in an estimated 26 million dollars throughout his various deals with BodyArmor, Lenovo, Nike and more.
9. Mahendra Singh Dhoni (ODI – India)
While parts of the world couldn’t even tell you a single thing about the game of Cricket, this particular Cricket player breaks into the top 10 fairly easily. Pulling in an estimated 27 million dollars a year based on agreements with specific brands and endorsements, the cricket star has put the sport even more on a global radar to reach areas of the world that formerly knew nothing of the sport. The accomplished athlete has exclusive deals with the likes of PepsiCo, Gulf Oil, Reebok and more.
8. Cristiano Ronaldo (La Liga – Real Madrid)
The only soccer (football) star to break into the top ten of sports brand ambassadors, Ronaldo is deemed one of the greatest that the sport has ever seen. His charisma and talent combined to make him a marketing dream for the likes of Samsung, Herbalife, Nike, Konami and many others. All in all the highly accredited and accomplished soccer star reels in an estimated annual 27 million dollars. While this is the same estimations for the Cricket star coming in at #9 on the list, the better global recognition of the star boosts him to the #8 spot even though the endorsements from the brands are near to the same estimated amounts.
7. Novak Djokovic (ATP)
Tennis giant Djokovic is an up and coming star with many years yet to reach the peak of his game. While he is dominating on the court right now, many believe that his popularity and skills are still very much on the rise. With the global attention of tennis as a whole, they attribute 2 of the highest paid sports ambassadors in this top 10 list. Through many different specific deals with brands like Adidas, Seiko, Mercedes-Benz and more, the skilled player brings in an estimated 31 million dollars every single year apart from his vast successes in the game of tennis.
6. Rory McIlroy (PGA)
The PGA has a few different offerings on this list as well, Rory McIlroy is being groomed to be the new face of the sport of golf, as his incredible talents with the game and young age ensure that he will be a dominant force in the sport for many years to come. Even only having become the success that he is within the last couple of years, Rory has landed a lot of exclusive deals that are raking him in some serious dough every year. McIlroy is the brand ambassador for Nike, Bose and EA Sports to name a few. This position is helping him to bring in an estimated 32 million dollars a year.
5. Kevin Durant (NBA – Oklahoma City Thunder)
Another one (but not the last one) of the NBA players making an appearance in this illustrious top 10 list is Kevin Durant. This a player that has been putting up huge numbers year after year throughout the league, and still has many years in the game left to continue to evolve and be as recognized as any basketball legend that the sport has seen. With a number of different multi year endorsements with big companies like Nike, 2KSports and Sprint, the Oklahoma City Thunder player is estimated to be bringing in a cool 35 million dollars a year.
4. Lebron James (NBA, Cleveland Cavaliers)
Lebron James is the Michael Jordan of modern basketball. He has already cemented himself as one of the greatest players to have ever competed at the professional level, and this has gotten him a lot of national attention from brands looking to have him help sell their products. James has quite a lot of deals going with major brands, the most noteworthy of which are Beats, Coca Cola, Kia and McDonald’s. These combined with a handful of other major endorsement deals brings Lebron James an estimated 44 million dollars annually.
3. Phil Mickelson (PGA)
Phil Mickelson is a legendary golfer in his own right. While his career might be reaching its sunset in the immediate years to come, Mickelson is still going to make quite a lot of money through his celebrity athlete status and his endorsement agreements with a lot of huge companies. KPMG, Rolex, Callaway and ExxonMobil are a few of the major brands that Mickelson has been asked to be the ambassador for, which roughly offers the legendary golfer the impressive 44 million dollars each and every year.
2. Tiger Woods (PGA)
There was likely a time in which Tiger Woods might have been number one on this list, and during the midst of the PR debacle of recent years, he might have dropped off the top 10 completely for a while. But with keeping his head down and working hard to reestablish himself as a sound investment, Woods is back on the top of the sport endorsement market. With deals from Nike, Upper Deck, Fathead and Muscle Pharm, the greatest golfer of the past decade has an estimated 50 million dollars coming in each and every year just based on his agreements with these major outfits.
1. Roger Federer (ATP)
There is something to be said about the worldwide reach of tennis when the biggest brand ambassador in all of sports comes from the world of tennis. Roger Federer is quite a marketable force. With his established track record being one of the greatest men to ever play the game of tennis, mixed with his charisma and good looks, the tennis great was easily able to get the endorsement deals that he was offered. His annual estimated 58 million dollars comes from a combination of top brands like Wilson, Nike, Gillette and Mercedes-Benz.
These are the top brand ambassadors in sports. While these estimations came from the end of 2016, this is the most recent credible information that could be obtained regarding the estimated amounts of money that each of these top athletes make from year to year. As you can see some sports are far more marketable than others, as basketball, golf and tennis seem to make up the largest part of this list.