Tiger Woods: Forbes reports that $70 million of Woods’ $78 million in annual earnings come off the course, including a five-year deal with Nike worth $100 million. He also reps Disney, Buick, American Express, Asahi, TLC, EA Sports and Wheaties, just to name a few.
Michael Schumacher: Formula One world champ’s two-year $67 million deal with Ferrari is the richest in sports.
Jeff Gordon: NASCAR’s Gordon drives around with $15 million-$20 million per year plastered all over his trusty No. 24 Chevrolet, with DuPont, Pepsi, Frito-Lay and FosterGrant, among others, along for the ride.
Andre Agassi: Thanks largely to his 10-year, $100 million Nike deal, he pockets $15 mil-$20 mil annually from endorsements. Deals include Canon, Head, Schick and Kia. Also, he and wife Steffi Graf have inked with Duetch Telekom to hawk T-Mobile phones.
LeBron James: His Nike deal, worth $90 million over seven years, won’t be the last for the top pick in this year’s NBA draft.
Lance Armstrong: The four-time Tour de France winner pedals his services to Subaru (a five-year deal estimated at $12 million), Nike, Bristol-Meyers Squibb, Comcast, Coke and Fuji. In 2001, the U.S. Postal Service forked over $25 million over four years to keep its stamp on his 21-member cycling team. A cancer survivor, he commands $200,000 per motivational speaking gig.
The Williamses (Venus and Serena): Venus’ $40 million deal with Reebok is the biggest ever for a female athlete. Sister Serena’s deal with Puma is worth far less, but it’s tied to her tour ranking, which was 400 when she signed. She No. 1 now. Most of the sisters’ endorsements are tandem, like Avon, Sega, their own clothing line and, natch, Doublemint gum.
The Lakers (Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal): Bryant’s just-signed Nike deal is worth between $40mil-$45 mil over five years. He also has deals with Spaulding and Sprite; O’Neal’s deals, worth roughly $8 million a year, include Radio Shack, Nestle’s and a line of clothing. Ever reported to be feuding, O’Neal reps Burger King, Bryant McDonald’s.
Tony Hawk: An apt moniker for the skateboard icon who pockets $10 million of the roughly $250 million of business he generates a year. Most noted for his line of vidgames for Activision, which have brought in more than $600 million.
Anna Kournikova: Still searching for her first tournament victory on the WTA, the oft-injured 22-year-old Russian calendar girl pockets nearly $14 million a year from Adidas sportswear, Berlei bras, Lycos games and Yonex tennis racquets, to name a few.
Rafael Palmeiro: His $500,000 pact as spokesman for Viagra took, well … cojones. When he first came to bat in Pittsburgh after having firmed the deal, he was serenaded with the tune “Pop Goes the Weasel.”
Michael Jordan: The Sugar Daddy of icing the cake. The recently retired Jordan’s deals with Nike, Haynes, Ballpark Franks, PalmPilot, Upper Deck, Gatorade, MCI and Wheaties, to name a few, mean he still out-endorses every American athlete but Tiger.
George Foreman: Weighs north of 300 lbs., earns north of $27 million per year from Salton for peddling his Lean Mean Fat-Reducing Grilling Machine. Arnold Palmer: There are more than 100 separate licensing and endorsement deals in Palmer’s platoon of endorsements. Products run the gamut of clothing, computer games, books and health care products, including a deal with GlaxoSmithKline to help smokers — Palmer once was one — quit.
David Beckham: Bending from Manchester United to Real Madrid, the success of eponymous indie pic may help him cross over into the U.S. market. He’s already a pitchman for Pepsi, Castrol and Police sunglasses.
Allen Iverson: You can’t rap his $100 million lifetime deal with Reebok, as well as a lucrative clothing line.
Derek Jeter: Battled cantankerous Yankee owner George Steinbrenner in the spring, made Visa commercial with him in the summer.
Mike Vick: His coin doesn’t match the NFL’s top endorser, Payton Manning, but the Falcon’s upset of the Green Bay Packers in last year’s playoffs and Vick’s deals with Nike, Coke/Powerade, EA Sports, Hasbro/Nerf and Nabisco may soon have just about everyone else in the league wishing they could be like Mike.