Top Sports Endorsement Deals

From LeBron James to Tiger Woods, these stars are demanding hefty endorsement deals

(Image: File)
(Image: File)

These days, most athletes seem to be business savvy. While others have smartly used the press to promote their charity events or separate endorsement deals. There was Tiger Woods‘ motorcycle deal, carmaker Kia electing LeBron James as the brand ambassador, OKC’s Kevin Durant partnering with Sonic and more.

Kevin Durant

Back in Nov., the power forward announced a partnership with fast-food chain Sonic. In addition to Durant’s name being synonymous with the Sonic brand, he will also be responsible for creating his own healthy dishes, which was part of the contract, reported ESPN. But don’t be fooled, Sonic’s decision to tap the Oklahoma City star wasn’t random, but well-thought out. There are 3,500 Sonic restaurants in 44 states, and the headquarters is based in Oklahoma City, yes, home to Durant.

Tiger Woods

“We believe that Tiger’s brand, Tiger’s recognition, Tiger’s attributes, will also lift and make the brand Hero as recognizable as Tiger,” said Pawan Munjal, the CEO of Hero MotoCorp, a motorcycle manufacturer based in India. The company recently signed a five-year contract with the golf star that is expected to pay $6 million to $8 million annually. The payout is Woods’ largest deal in five years. Click here to learn more about his other investments.

Marshawn Lynch

This isn’t about his hefty endorsement deals, but instead how he cleverly used the media to promote his Fam 1st Family Foundation, which mentors children on the importance of education, literacy, and self-esteem. Lynch was fined $100,000 by the NFL for avoiding the media in Nov. When the Seahawks star finally did decide to give an interview, his responses to the reporters’ questions were mostly “Yeah”and “Uh-huh.” Eventually, he snapped out of the robot-like daze to plug his event. “I got a foundation dinner at the Edgewater [Hotel] on Dec. 14 to help benefit the inner city youth out in Oakland. We are trying to raise money to build a youth center,” Lynch told a group of journalists, before slinking, back into his “Yeah” responses. Sharp move, sir.

LeBron James

A world-class deal just like him. The Cavaliers forward has agreed to be the brand ambassador of Kia’s 2015 luxury sedan (K900), reported ESPN. The carmaker says the new ritzy vehicle has an overall better riding experience than the BMV 750i and Lexus LS 460. King James has other deals with Nike, Coca-Cola, Beats By Dre, McDonalds, and more. Not surprising, his jersey has remained the top best seller in the NBA, according to the league. He really is a King.

Kobe Bryant

He has eclipsed Michael Jordan on the NBA’s most-scoring list. Even though he missed all but six games of the 2013-14 NBA seasons due to a fracture in his left knee, his no. 24 Los Angeles Lakers jersey was still the league’s third best seller, reported Forbes. Bryant pockets more than $30 million annually from his deals with Turkish Air, Lenovo, Hubblot, Nikie and Panini for merchandise, according to Forbes.


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