Sports Endorsement Deals
As you are probably well aware of, sportswear tycoons like Nike and Adidas have a huge stable of athletes on their roster. Equating to hundreds of millions of dollars in endorsement. Everything from sponsorship deals, to custom apparel, and most prominently signature shoe deals. What we’ve done, is collated a list of 10 which are either lucrative, impactful, or just straight slick sports endorsement deals.
1. Naomi Osaka (Nike)
Naomi Osaka’s rise to stardom came as a result of her first Grand Slam tennis victory at the U.S. Open in New York City. At the time currently signed to Adidas it was expected that a mega extension was to be offered in response. Despite the fact Osaka was wearing Adidas gear during her second Grand Slam win at the Australian Open in January 2019. Which was after her contract had officially expired with the Three Stripes at the end of 2018. Osaka opted not to sign an extension.
Instead holding out til April and crossing over onto Nike’s roster. The deal is worth about $8.5 Million to Osaka but her earnings aren’t the most interesting element of this deal. Osaka has been the subject of a new collaborative apparel project off the back of her signing with Nike. With Nike Court combining with Sacai to dress her for the 2019 US Open. Designed by founder of Sacai Chitose Abe the outfit features a double-layer skirt atop a bodysuit, for a play on the classic tennis dress look.
2. Serena Williams (Off-White x Nike)
Keeping it Tennis, the women’s games most dominant player consistently tops Forbes’ Highest-Paid Female Athletes list. This is in no small part down to her long term partnership with Nike which contributes to her estimated $225 million net worth. Like Osaka however, it isn’t the numbers that make her endorsement so eye-catching. It is due to her affiliation not just with Nike but with one of their biggest contributors, Virgil Abloh.
Serena Williams has been subject of a number of projects from Abloh’s Off-White brand. Most notably the Nike x Virgil Abloh “Queen” Collection specifically for Serena which features three new models: A NikeCourt Flare 2 PE, a new The Ten: Blazer and a new The Ten: Air Max 97. Also similarly to Osaka, Williams has been kitted out for several Tennis tournaments, with custom Off-White x Nike apparel. Including a black and white two-piece ’fit with matching cape was covered in words synonymous with empowerment, “Mother,” “Champion,” “Queen,” “Goddess,” translated into French for the French Open.
3. Cristiano Ronaldo (Nike)
Cristiano Ronaldo’s almost career long endorsement with Nike has lead to some serious earnings. Arguably the richest of all Nike sponsored athletes in the world, the endorsement is reported to be worth upwards of $1 Billion in total since he first signed with the brand. This partnership has seen countless football boots released as to be expected. As well as less expectantly, a couple successful lifestyle models. Most notably the Air Force 1 CR7 Golden Patchwork. Which pays homage to Ronaldo’s favourite Nike silhouette.
4. Andre Ward (Jordan)
If you asked a poll of people I bet the majority of them wouldn’t be aware that Andre Ward was signed to Air Jordan. Since his breakout at the Olympics the Jumpman brand decided to jump all over the former WBA Super World Middleweight title holder. Despite his contract with Jordan not necessarily being common knowledge he has been seen in the ring wearing a whole host of Jordan apparel, everything from socks, to shorts to boots, and also has his own range of Jordan boxing boots. The last marquee boxer to be sponsored by the Jumpman regime was Roy Jones Jr.
5. Lionel Messi (Adidas)
Despite being the second-highest-paid athlete in the world, and widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time. He doesn’t make a lot from his Adidas endorsement, relative to his salary. His measly yearly endorsement income of $27 million would look embarrassing. If it wasn’t paired with an annual salary in excess of $80 million. Still, don’t feel too bad for old mate Messi. He is still one of highest-paid Adidas athletes ever. And, in the time it will take you to read this article, he would have earnt about $520 dollerydoos from Adidas endorsements without lifting a finger.
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