Since 2004, Jonah Freedman of Sports Illustrated, has been compiling The Fortunate 50: The 50 highest-earning American athletes. It is a respected compilation of the highest grossing athletes (sport earnings + outside-the-game activities) that is quoted in books, law review articles, etc.
As noted in the piece, this is the first year since Jonah started recording figures, that the average earnings for the list, decreased. Blame it on the economy?
Beware of the bullets:
- 5 New York Yankees players are listed, but they all make the list because of their salaries, not an overwhelming endorsement portfolio. Maybe LeBron James (#3 on the list) notices that meeting his endorsement potential is not all about moving to NY. Or perhaps he believes that baseball players in NY have no chance getting as much money in endorsements as he would (a basketball player). I still hope that he stays in Cleveland.
- It’s not as if A-Rod’s contract is new to us, but just look at the difference in salary between Rodriguez and every other athlete on the list. Unreal.
- Shaq is getting old and less productive, but still making a great amount of money…especially in endorsements. How will his love for Twitter help/hurt his ranking over the next year?
- Teixiera and Sabathia, combined, make less in endorsements than Jermaine O’Neal? Okay, baseball players do have some marketing hurdles to overcome.
- Steve Francis at #22 hurts a lot more than Barry Zito at #26.