Woods, Federer top Forbes? list of highest earning athletes

Woods, Federer top Forbes? list of highest earning athletes

MUMBAI: Golfer Tiger Woods and tennis ace Roger Federer have topped Forbes' list of the highest paid athletes having made $78.1 million and $71.5 million from June 2012-June 2013 time frame respectively.

Rounding out the top five are Kobe Bryant who made $61.9 million, LeBron James with $59.8 million and Drew Brees with $51 million. A major chunk of Woods and Federer?s wealth came from brand endorsements. Each earned $65 million this route.

Woods has been the hottest golfer on the planet with six tournament wins over the past 12-months. His prize money has doubled and his off-course income is up thanks to sponsor bonuses with Nike and Rolex tied to his wins and a return to the top of the World Golf Rankings. Woods has also been busy overseas collecting more than $10 million in appearance fees from stops in Abu Dhabi, China, Malaysia and Turkey. Woods? golf course-design business has also picked up after multiple blowups. Developers broke ground on a new course in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, which is likely to be the first completed Woods-designed course.

Federer - Forbes noted has the most impressive endorsement portfolio in sports, with 10 sponsors that collectively pay him more than $40 million annually, including long-term deals with Nike, Rolex, Wilson and Credit Suisse. The newest addition is champagne brand Moet and Chandon, which signed Federer to a five-year deal at the end of 2012. Federer?s income surged after a barnstorming exhibition tour of South America that netted him $14 million for six events. Federer is widely perceived as the greatest tennis player ever. He holds the records for most singles Grand Slam wins (17) and career prize money ($77 million). He appeared in a staggering 18 out of 19 Grand Slam finals between 2005 and 2010.

Indian skipper M.S. Dhoni is at number 16 having made $31.5 million. Like Federer and Woods most of his money has come from brand endorsements ? $28 million. Forbes notes that nearly half of Dhoni?s 25 endorsements pay more than $1 million annually, including a three-year deal with former billionaire Vijay Mallya?s United Breweries Group worth more than $5 million over three years. He has also shown an ear for business by taking equity stakes or key roles with companies he endorses and his own Supersport World Championship motorcycle racing team.

Sachin Tendulkar is at number 51 having made $22 million out of which $18 million has come from brand endorsements. Tendulkar is in the twilight of his career and is beginning to lose corporate partners like Canon, which chose not to re-up when their deal expired last year. But his $1.2 million-per-year contract with Coca-Cola is worth more than most IPL players? entire salaries. The "Master Blaster" retired in May from the IPL, the source of over $2 million of his annual earnings. The retirement announcement came moments after the Mumbai Indians, for whom he?s played since 2008, won their first ever championship.

Federer?s arch rivals Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are at numbers 28 and 30 having earned 26.9 million and 26.4 million. While Djokovic has passed his rivals Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer on the court, he still trails them when it comes to endorsement earnings. Djokovic and his clothing sponsor Sergio Tacchini parted ways in last year and the world?s number one player signed a new clothing deal with Japan?s Uniqlo. He added a shoe deal with Adidas in 2013.

A knee injury resulted in Nadal?s withdrawal from the 2012 Olympics and a seven-month absence from the court. The result was a drop in prize money and ranking. He fell to number four in the 2012 year-end ATP standings after being within the top two spots in year-end rankings for eight straight years. In December, he left IMG to start his own management company with his father and manager. Nadal?s watch sponsor Richard Mille released a sequel in February to the Nadal signature timepiece first released in 2010 for $500,000. The new version is lighter but comes with a heftier $690,000 price tag.

Representing the women is Maria Sharapova at number 22 who made $29 million out of which 23 million comes from brand endorsements. Sharapova completed the career Grand Slam last year when she won the French Open. She plays the final of this year?s edition tomorrow. Last year?s win triggered lucrative bonuses with sponsors Nike and Head. Her $26 million in career prize money ranks third all-time behind the Williams sisters. She launched her own candy line, Sugarpova, last year and it expects to sell 1.5 million bags at $5-6 a pop in the first 12-months. Sharapova plans to expand the company into other categories once her playing days are over.

Li Na is at number 85 having made $18.2 million. Out of this $15 million comes from brand endorsements. Li rose to prominence in 2011 when she reached two Grand Slam finals and won the French Open title. The win in Paris made her the first Asian-born tennis player ever to win a Grand Slam singles event. Despite the sluggish overall sponsorship market, she signed seven multimillion-dollar endorsement deals after the historic win. Li shills for Babolat, Nike, Samsung and Mercedes, as well as multiple Chinese companies. She extended her Rolex deal in 2013 after reaching the Australian Open finals.

Retired soccer player David Beckham is at number eight having made $47.2 million. $42 million came from brand endorsements. Beckham announced his retirement from soccer after a five-month stay at Paris Saint-Germain, where Becks won his tenth league title to put a bow on his decorated 21-year career. Beckham donated his $5.3 million salary at PSG to a children?s charity. He can afford it. The British icon banked $42 million from commercial endorsements from sponsors including Adidas, Coty, H&M, Sainsbury?s, Samsung and his newest partner, Breitling.

Beckham will be busy in retirement. He signed a multi-year deal to become an ambassador for the Chinese Super League, a role which will see him make three trips in 2013 to the country and play an exhibition game. He also plans to buy an MLS team, a contractual right he was granted when he joined the league in 2007.

One athlete who makes almost all his money through endorsements is sprinter Usain Bolt. Out of his $24.2 million earnings only $200,000 was prize money. His biggest endorsement deal with Puma pays about $9 million annually. He added multimillion deals with Samsung and Comcast since the London Olympic Games.

Boxer Floyd Merryweather is the opposite. All his earnings of $34 million came from his only fight. The top-earner on Forbes 2012 highest paid athletes fell into a tie with fellow pugilist Manny Pacquiao at Number 14 after only fighting once between the June 2012-June 2013 time frame. But Mayweather still cashed in with a blockbuster 30-month, six fight deal with Showtime in February. The deal is expected to net Mayweather roughly $200 million, if he fights six times, and potentially much more depending on pay-per-view sales. His first fight of the contract resulted in a lopsided unanimous decision over Robert Guerrero in May that had disappointing PPV sales and limited Mayweather?s final take on top of his $32 million guarantee. But a September bout with Canelo Alvarez is expected to be a PPV hit.

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