In today’s world, athletes are paid for more than their abilities on the playing field.
With the popularity of sports growing at amazing rates, companies are looking at athletes as huge moneymakers for their respective business entities. They figure, since the fans and viewers will pay to watch their favorite athletes while they’re performing, they will also pay to wear, drink and use whatever those same athletes are using on a daily basis.
Although athletes make huge amounts of money in their respective sports, the bulk of their net worth comes from outside the confines of the sports world and inside the confines of the business world.
According to Forbes’ Highest Paid Athletes of 2016 List, athletes like Cristiano Ronaldo ($88 Million earned in 2016), LeBron James ($77.2 Million), and Roger Federer ($67.8 Million) represent the first, third and fourth highest paid athletes in sports today.
Outside of Ronaldo, James and Federer make more money outside of their respective sports (this is because the money in soccer right now is mind-blowing).
Ronaldo makes $32 Million in outside of the soccer field through sponsorships from Nike, Tag Heuer, Sacoor Brothers Suits, and Monster Headphones.
James makes $54 Million off of the basketball court through sponsorships like Powerade, Kia Motors, Beats Electronics, and Sprite. You can include a lifetime deal with Nike on top of that, as well as ventures into television and movies where he had a role in the 2015 comedy “Trainwreck,” is set to star in “Space Jam 2” and just launched new TV programs on Starz Network and CNBC respectively called “Survivor’s Remorse” and “Cleveland Hustles.”
Federer makes the most of all three in endorsements, pulling in a cool $60 Million through sponsorships with Nike, Rolex, Wilson, Mercedes-Benz, and Lindt Chocolate, just to name a few.
What we have brewing up here is the interpolation between sports and business. Each can be viewed as one in the same if you really think about it, and that’s why they work so well together.
Competitive sports is a business, just like business is a competitive sport. Athletes are being paid to not only play, but to also effectively represent a business entity which is the sport and team that they play for. In order to be profitable, every sport has to put the most quality products(players) on the field at all times to peak the consumer’s interest and leave them coming back for more. This is just like any business brand like Nike or Rolex where each company is constantly battling with opposing companies in their same lane to put the best product out there that have the most appeal and will leave the consumer wanting to buy more of their product. This is just like how sports teams play each other and try to gain the upper edge to win by putting their best product on the field.
How do these two mesh now?
Well, each can be used to benefit the other because of similar concepts mentioned above. Nike is an athletic brand and business that targets top athletes like James, Ronaldo and Federer to endorse their products in order to beat the competition. In the same way, James, Ronaldo and Federer believe that wearing Nike apparel gives them the best opportunity to play their best and beat their competition because they now feel their absolute best. Non-athletic brands like Rolex and Tag Heuer also look to beat their competition by not only putting their most quality product out in the market, but also having the biggest athletes wear their product. Again, if the fans will pay top dollar to see these athletes perform on the field, they will also pay to look like them off the field.
Due to the levels of money that athletes are making, their roles and responsibilities also grow just as much as their bank accounts. They are now asked to wear many hats for many different brands and businesses that have hired them. What this means is that although their main focus is on their sport, a major focus also has to be paid to the off the field activities that are putting even more money in their pockets than the sports they play. With this, comes maximum exposure and the requirement to present the best public (almost perfect) image on and off the field, which can prove to be a problem for most because at the end of the day they are human and all humans have flaws. A big difference between the common person and the athlete is that the athlete’s flaw isn’t in their checkbooks.
Do you feel that today’s athletes are making more money than they’re truly worth? Let’s talk about it here or find me on Twitter @Phenombc3.