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Endorsement Dollars: $480,000 Per Month?

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  • Endorsement Dollars: $480,000 Per Month?

    I was reading an article about Ben Johnson @

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Johnson_%28athlete%29

    A quote found therein read:

    "After Rome, Johnson started to make a lot of money. According to coach Charlie Francis, after breaking the world record Johnson earned about $480,000 a month in endorsements."


    Is that possible? Ben Johnson was making almost Six Million Dollars ($6,000,000) per year at his peak?

    What are the top athletes making today?

  • #2
    Australian business mag BRW estimates the incomes of Australia's top 50 highest earning sportspeople each year. Cathy Freeman was the only track and field athlete to make the list for the past decade (cut off has increased over time from A$565,000 to A$1m in the past 8 years)

    Freeman's numbers:
    1997: A$800,000 (A1$=US$0.675)
    1998: A$850,000 (A1$=US$0.62)
    1999: A$800,000 (A1$=US$0.636)
    2000: A$1,200,000 (A1$=US$0.55)
    2001: ??
    2002: A$1,720,000
    2003: A$800,000

    Interesting quotes from different years' reports:

    1998: "Runners Matt Shirvington and Heather Turland became media stars after the Commonwealth Games but this has not translated into big dollars. Shirvington has struck deals with Adidas and Ray-Ban but his estimated 1998 income was less than $100,000. Pole vaulter Emma George has deals with National Australia Bank and Proton, but her earnings are low. Track-and-field athletes such as Debbie Sosimenko (hammer), Louise McPaul (javelin) and Jai Taurima (long-jump) have been ignored by marketers. "

    1999: "Runner Matt Shirvington, 21, boosted his gross income from an estimated $100,000 in 1998 to $500,000 this year, a large amount for a track and field athlete but not enough to get him into the top 50."

    2000: "Despite his disappointing performance in Sydney, runner Matt Shirvington could become a big earner - if he can run inside 10 seconds (so far, his best time is 10.03). "If he breaks 10 seconds next year, the sky is the limit," Austin says. Shirvington earned an estimated $500,000 this year. Breaking the 10-second barrier would push his earnings well beyond $1 million. Austin says Shirvington's earnings are based on his potential rather than his results to date. "He is a white man in a black man's sport. He has the potential to do something others can't. That adds value." Shirvington's contract with Nike reportedly includes a clause that he will receive $1 million if he runs under 10 seconds."
    "Grigorieva is considering several deals and estimates of her potential earnings in 2001 range from $350,000 to $1 million."

    2003: "[Jana] Pittman's world championship success has made life much easier. Four main sponsors - the clothing company Adidas, the beverage manufacturer Red Bull, the vitamin maker Blackmores and the property company Stockland - are now backing Pittman for a total of about $250,000. Pittman said in August: "I've never run for money but when it's your livelihood you definitely need the support of sponsors and I'm so grateful because this is a big weight off my shoulders. Provided things go well and I achieve the results I want, these deals should set me up for my career and they'll make a difference to my day-to-day preparations." "

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