11 men and one woman make up this list of the 12 biggest Nike endorsement deals on the company's books currently. If this is surprising, the fact that two golfers earned spots on this list is likely more so, for those who aren't fans of men and women with sticks whacking a small white ball around manicured landscapes.
As ludicrous as some of these numbers sound, the arrangements are more than worth it for the Beaverton, Oregon company. Here's an example: Nike pays Carmelo Anthony a reported 8 million bucks per year to wear their Jordan brand Melo M shoes. In 2012, the company grossed more than $40 million in Melo M sales.
The world of Nike endorsements is constantly evolving and expanding. It's crazy to think ~30 years ago Michael Jordan's original deal with Nike was for a reported $500,000 annually. Crazier still: how much MJ is still pulling in as a product of his loyalty to the swoosh.
See where MJ, Melo, and others land on our list of the top 12 biggest Nike endorsement deals of all-time.
12 Carmelo Anthony: $8 million per year
Melo makes a reported $8 million per year from his deal with Nike. Is he worth it? Carmelo Anthony reportedly grossed more than $40 million in shoe sales for the company in 2012.
Forbes 25th richest athlete in 2013, Anthony earned $19.5 million from the Knicks for his services in the 2013/2014 season.
11 Cristiano Ronaldo: $8 million per year
The flamboyant winger is an internationally marketable star, a fact Nike clearly recognizes, paying Ronaldo a reported $8 million a year to wear their boots (as they say across the pond).
Ronaldo is the highest-paid footballer in the world in addition to being the most generously paid endorser; he earns more than $460,000 a week from his contract with Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid.
10 Kobe Bryant: $8 million per year
The Mamba is reportedly in the midst of a five-year, $40 million contract with Nike. Bryant's shoes, particularly the Kobe 8, have become immensely popular in China. The 8s grossed more than $50 million for Nike last year.
Bryant has been on Nike's roster since 2003, after spending the first portion of his years as a pitchman for Adidas.
9 Kevin Durant: $8.5 million per year
Kevin Durant inked a seven-year, $60 million deal with Nike that included a $10 million signing bonus. The former Texas standout famously turned down a $70 million deal from Adidas to sign with the Swoosh.
The 6’9’’ forward also receives endorsement money from the likes of Sprint, Gatorade, Panini, General Electric and 2K Sports. Durant is the NBA’s fourth leading shoe salesman, selling $35 million worth of KDs annually.
8 Maria Sharapova: $8.75 million per year
Another of Nike’s biggest endorsement deals featured Russian superstar Maria Sharapova. The former Wimbledon champion signed a reported eight-year, $70 million contract with Nike in 2010 that included a range of clothing that Sharapova will receive a share of profits from.
As Danielle Rossingh of Bloomberg writes, "Sharapova makes close to $22 million a year in prize money and from endorsing companies including Tiffany & Co., Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications Ltd. and Canon Inc., according to Sports Illustrated."
7 Roger Federer: $10 million per year
The tennis great reportedly earns $10 million a year from his 10-year endorsement deal with Nike. Overall, the Swiss star banks more than $40 million every year from endorsements.
Federer, whose Grand Slam title total stands at a ridiculous 17, appeared in an even more ridiculous 18 out of 19 Grand Slam finals from 2005 to 2010. He remains the most bankable player in the sport.
6 LeBron James: $10 million per year
King James found himself in hot water last year when he lamented that he'd never been granted the maximum contract by any team. Whenever a professional athlete strikes the chord of “I’m underpaid,” s/he likely doesn’t make any new fans.
The two-time NBA champion is only the eighth highest-paid player in the NBA for the 2013-2014 season.
However, it's tough to feel too bad for the 6'8'' superstar:
James famously signed a seven-year $93 million deal with Nike in 2003. In 2010, the company reportedly re-signed LeBron to a $10 million per year deal. Further, the Akron native reportedly makes nearly $30 million per year from all endorsements combined.
5 Derek Jeter: $10 million per year
Jeter is in the midst of a 10-year $100 million contract to pitch Nike and their Jordan brand.
The Yankees legend's endorsements have included Gatorade, Gillette, Ford, Skippy, Delta, Fleet Bank, XM Satellite Radio, Avon, and VISA, which nicely complement the more than $200 million he’s made on the field.
4 Rafael Nadal: ~$10 million per year
Rafael Nadal re-signed with Nike in 2008 for a 10-year deal worth more than $10 million annually. The Spanish tennis star also has deals with Mapfre SA, Spain’s largest insurer, Kia Motors, and Babolat, a French racquet maker.
The 11-time Grand Slam champion recently parted ways with management company IMG, electing instead to form his own corporation to secure sponsorships and avoiding the management company’s traditional 15-percent fee.
3 Tiger Woods: ~$20 million per year
Tiger inked his first deal with Nike just before his professional debut at the Greater Milwaukee Open in 1996. A $40 million five-year deal, Woods' first arrangement with Nike was groundbreaking in the world of golf endorsements. It was also groundbreaking because Nike didn’t really have a significant golf division prior to signing the gofler.
Five years later, Tiger signed an even more lucrative deal with the swoosh, reportedly for $100 million over five years. In 2013, Woods' agent Mark Steinberg announced Nike and the golfer had agreed to an extension that will keep Woods with Nike until the end of his career.
2 Rory Mcllroy: $20-25 million per year
When Rory McIlroy left Titleist at the end of 2012 to join Tiger Woods at Nike Golf, the wholesale equipment switch seemed extreme. Indeed, many, including major champion and commentator Nick Faldo, thought the decision was a poor one.
However, initial reports pegged the deal at $250 million over 10 years, making it exceedingly difficult to pass up. Others valued the McIlroy-Nike partnership at five years, $100 million.
Either way, it’s a significant chunk of change for the heir to Tiger Woods’ swoosh-laden throne.
1 Michael Jordan: $60 million per year
Even though he hasn’t performed an NBA jump shot since 2003, Michael Jordan continues to cash checks with Nike Inc. printed on them. Reportedly, Jordan earns more than $60 million annually in royalties from Nike, according to a variety of sources.
According to Forbes, Jordan earned more than $80 million in total endorsement/royalty money from the aforementioned Nike, as well as Gatorade, Hanes, Upper Deck, 2K Sports, Presbyterian Healthcare and Five Star Fragrances. No to mention his other business interests, including his 80 percent stake in the Carolina Bobcats.
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