Roger Federer has been named the world's most marketable sportsperson in 2016, despite missing the second-half of the season through injury. The 17-time grand slam champion underwent knee surgery in March and went on to miss the Olympic Games and US Open but still earned nearly £50m ($60.7m) in sponsorships and endorsements, according to researchers at the London School of Marketing.
The Swiss tennis star is followed by Lebron James, who led the Cleveland Cavaliers to victory in the NBA Finals – becoming the first team to come back from 3-1 down in the seven-match series – with the American receiving £44.3m ($53.8m) during 2016. Phil Mickelson, the five-time major golf champion, and former world number one Tiger Woods are next in the list after both played a role in Team USA reclaiming the Ryder Cup.
Woods played just one event last year at the Hero World Challenge yet his global profile ensured he continued to earn £36.9m ($44.8m) away from the course from the likes of Nike and Rolex. Players from the PGA dominated the list, with Rory Mcilroy (£28.7m,$34.8m) – the highest British entry – and Jordan Spieth (£26.2m, $31.8m) both inside the top 10.
Novak Djokovic (£27.9m, $33.8m) and Rafael Nadal (£26.2m,$31.8m) join Federer in the top 10, but world number one Andy Murray languishes down in 22<sup>nd despite climbing to the summit of the ATP rankings for the first time after winning the Wimbledon title and Olympic gold for a second time. The only two female representatives are also from the sport of tennis, with Serena Williams (£16.4m, $19.9m) and Maria Sharapova (£16.4, $19.9m), despite her ban for an anti-doping violation inside the top 20.
Other notable entries include world footballer of the year Cristiano Ronaldo (eighth, £26.2m, $31.8m), Barcelona's Lionel Messi (11<sup>th, £23m, $27.9m), nine-time Olympic sprint champion Usain Bolt (16<sup>th, £16.4m, $19.9m) and retired boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr (25<sup>th, £9.8m, $11.9m).
Jacques de Cock, faculty member at London School of Marketing said: "The top 100 athletes earned a total of £2.6bn ($3.16bn) last year. The sponsorship revenues are driven upwards mainly by the competition of major clothing brands.
World's top 10 marketable sports stars (Source: London School of Marketing)
- Roger Federer - £49.2m
- LeBron James - £44.3m
- Phil Mickelson - £41m
- Tiger Woods - £36.9m
- Kevin Durant - £29.5m
- Rory Mcilroy - £28.7m
- Novak Djokovic - £27.9m
- Cristiano Ronaldo - £26.2m
- Jordan Spieth - £26.2m
- Rafael Nadal - £26.2m
"The main ones are Nike with 51 stars under contract, Adidas with 12 and Under Armour with 11. The other brands such as Reebok, Puma and New Balance have a handful each. Despite Roger Federer's slow year in terms of success in his sport, his successful endorsement deals show that personal characteristics can also be an important part of long-lasting sponsorships.
"Male athletes still dominate perhaps because they offer advantages to marketers that want to tap into the traditionally hard to reach male consumer market. Fans tend to buy sports clothing and equipment based on what the key sportsman wear, which explains why endorsements are such a major part of cricket, tennis and golf.
"Endorsements are such a powerful way for brands to market their products. This is because they increase brand awareness, validate product features, boost brand equity, and reach the difficult 16-30-year-old male market."