Roger Federer and Uniqlo
Another example of when the individual brand of an athlete eclipses the endorser, is the tennis superstar Roger Federer. In his previous tournaments, the 20 time Grand Slam winner has been synonymous with the brand Nike. For many years, Roger Federer has been the beneficiary of Nike’s biggest sponsorship deals. However, when he stepped out on to center court at Wimbledon last year, he was seen decked out by the Japanese designer Uniqlo. It seems that the Fed Express will be just fine without Nike endorsements. His deal with Uniqlo is potentially worth $300 million over ten years that would surpass his 20-year deal with Nike which earnt him in the ballpark range of $150 million, making it one of the biggest endorsement deals of all time.
Lionel Messi and Adidas
In spite of being the world’s second-highest-paid athlete and widely considered as one of the greatest football players of all time, Lionel Messi comes in the second last on this list of highest endorsement deals. Messi’s measly yearly endorsement income of $27 million would look embarrassing if it was not paired with an annual salary of $80 million. However, don’t feel too bad for old mate Messi because he is still one of the highest-paid Adidas athletes ever. And, in the time it takes you to read this article, he would have earnt $520 dollerydoos from his Adidas endorsements without lifting a finger.
Lebron James and Nike
Lebron James is commonly regarded as one of the greatest athletes to grace the NBA and professional sport with his presence. Lebron is also believed to have the biggest endorsement opportunity since Tiger Woods. Lebron had become a millionaire through endorsement offers even before he stepped on an NBA court. When he was 18 years old, Lebron turned down a $10 million check from Reebok to not meet with Adidas and Nike, which soon swooped in on Lebron and in 2015 he resigned for an unheard of $1 Billion lifetime deal – among the largest (if not the largest) Nike endorsement deals in history.