Tiger Woods Earns $1B Tops Michael Jordan As Highest Paid Athlete

Tiger Woods earns $1B becoming highest paid athlete

Forbes reported last week that Tiger Woods became the first athlete to earn $1 billion in career earnings from endorsements, prize winnings, golf course design and appearance fees. Woods reportedly earns $30 million a year from Nike and receives $10 million per project for his golf design work. He also just won $10 million last week for winning the FedEx Cup title.

The crazy part is that Woods in only 33 years old and has many years of competitive golf, endorsements and golf course design ahead of him. It’s not a stretch to say that he’ll likely make well in excess of $2 billion by the time his career ends. It’s estimated that he has now earned more than NBA great Michael Jordan ($800 million) and retired Formula One driver Michael Shumacher ($700 million).

Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan compete at San Francisco Golf Tournament

I thought it would be interesting to look at the list of highest paid endorsers…

1. Tiger Woods ($110 million)…Even though he missed the second half of 2008 and the first part of this year with a knee injury, Woods is still the king of earnings.

2T. Kobe Bryant ($45 million)…The NBA’s most popular player on a global basis, Bryant is more popular in China than he is in the United States.

2T. Michael Jordan ($45 million)…Jordan is still Nike’s highest paid endorser, reportedly earning more than $40 million per year from his Jordan brand.

2T. Kimi Raikkonen ($45 million)…Formula One’s highest paid driver.

5. David Beckam ($42 million)…Although Beckham’s on the downside of his career, he’s still the most visible soccer player in the world and has endorsements with Adidas and Motorola among others.

6T. Manny Pacquiao ($40 million)…His last two fights against Oscar De La Hoya and Ricky Hatton generated more than $100 million in revenue from pay-per-view.

6T. LeBron James ($40 million)…The Michael Jordan of this era, James is the face of the NBA along with Bryant.

6T. Phil Mickelson ($40 million)…Mickelson has earned more than $54 million in prize money during his career, trailing only Woods and Vijay Singh in money earned over a career.

9. Valentino Rossi ($35 million)…The most popular motorcycle racer in the world. Rossi earns $16 million per year just from Yamaha.

10. Dale Earnhardt Jr. ($34 million)…Earnhardt Jr. was voted NASCAR’s most popular driver for the sixth straight year in 2008.

Next Ten…11T. Roger Federer ($34 million); 11T. Shaquille O’Neal ($33 million); 13T. Oscar De La Hoya ($32 million); 13T. Lewis Hamilton ($32 million); 13T. Alex Rodriguez ($32 million); 16. Vijay Singh ($31 million); 17T. Kevin Garnett ($30 million); 17T. Jeff Gordon ($30 million) and 17T. Ronaldinho ($30 million)

The most glaring absence from this list is the lack of representation from the NFL. One would think the most popular sport in the U.S. would be well represented, but NFL salaries aren’t as high as other sports and only a handful of players earn large endorsement income. Even though they’re not on the list, among the top earning NFL players are Payton Manning and Ben Roethlisberger.

Another interesting fact is that the only retired player on the list is Jordan. Among the top earning retired athletes who didn’t make the list are Cal Ripken Jr, John Elway, Muhammad Ali, Magic Johnson and John McEnroe.

PFP Sports and Celebrity Talent Agency
is a top booking agent for sports stars, athlete appearances, endorsements and celebrities. If you would like to hire a sports star for an  endorsement,  appearance or speaking engagement, contact us or call 800 966-1380.