Sports Illustrated Fortunate 50 – List of Highest Earning Athletes

by Kevin on July 2, 2009

Yesterday Sports Illustrated released their Fortunate 50 – a list of the fifty highest earning (not necessarily paid for their sport) athletes.

The timing of the Fortunate 50 couldn’t be better for me personally. I’m in the midst of my last MBA class — entrepreneurship — and I’m working on a business plan that directly relates to athletes. Not necessarily ones making all the money though. More along the lines of this other amazing Sports Illustrated article on how athletes go broke.

Looking at the list you will quickly discover — and probably be appalled — at how much money athletes make from their profession versus simply endorsing products.

Tiger Woods is the prime example coming in at #1.

His salary/winnings came in at $7,737,626. But his endorsements hit $92 million. Yes, $92 million. He earned almost twelve times as much in endorsements than he did playing golf.

This seems to be common for golf as Phil Mickelson hits the list at #2 with salary/winnings of $6.35 million and endorsements of $46.6 million. The other sports seem more evenly balanced between the salary of actually playing the sport compared to the endorsements. Except for LeBron James at #3 the rest of the list earns more playing their sport than endorsing products.

Do these athletes have financial advisors? Good ones that aren’t out to get rich off of them? I sure hope so.

It does make you wonder. Where does all the money go? Tiger Woods earned $100 million last year. Is it sitting in an investment account? Or does he write checks off of it?

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