Six athletes that earned more money endorsing products than playing sports in 2010

Professional athletes make more money in a year’s salary than most people make in a lifetime.And when you add in the money made from endorsement deals, some athletes’ total earnings near the billion dollar mark.

A few athletes in fact, earn far more money from their endorsement deals than they do playing their sport.

Golfers and race car drivers in particular rely on endorsement money as their primary source of income.

We compiled a list of the athletes raking in the money from endorsements with data from Sports Illustrated‘s The Fortunate 50.

Jimmie Johnson — 57% spokesman, 43% athlete

Endorsements: $10,000,000

Salary/winnings: $7,339,630

Jimmie Johnson has endorsement deals with Lowes, Sunoco, and Chevrolet.

Source: Sports Illustrated

LeBron James — 66% spokesman, 34% athlete

Endorsements: $30,000,000

Salary/winnings: $15,779,912

LeBron James has endorsement deals from Nike, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, and State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance.

Source: Sports Illustrated

Jeff Gordon — 70% spokesman, 30% athlete

Endorsements: $15,000,000

Salary/winnings: $6,476,460

Jeff Gordon has endorsement deals with DuPoint, Pepsi, and Quaker State.

Source: Sports Illustrated

Tiger Woods — 77% spokesman, 23% athlete


Endorsements: $70,000,000

Salary/winnings: $20,508,163

Tiger Woods has endorsement deals with Nike, and EA Sports.

Source: Sports Illustrated

Dale Earnhardt Jr. — 84% spokesman, 16% athlete


Endorsements: $22,000,000

Salary/winnings: $4,097,190

Dale Earnhardt has endorsement deals with Amp Energy Drink, Adidas, and Wrangler.

Source: Sports Illustrated


Phil Mickelson — 84% spokesman, 16% athlete










Endorsements: $52,000,000

Salary/winnings: $9,660,757

Phil Mickelson has endorsement deals with Barclays, Callaway, and Rolex.

Source: Sports Illustrated


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