July 22, 2024

Biggest Deals Between Clothing Labels And Athletes: Messi, Ronaldo, Lebron James And More


We’re talking about lifetime contracts and over $5 billion worth of combined value!

Jack Grealish has had a good couple of years recently. After making his £100 million transfer to Manchester City and being instrumental during the Three Lion’s charge to Euro 2020 final last year, the 26-year-old has become one of the hottest commodities in football. Cashing on the success, Italian high-fashion brand Gucci is said to penned a contract with the midfielder over a rumoured “seven-figure deal.”

Grealish’s new deal would be one of the most lucrative offerings with a clothing brand out there, joining the ranks of Messi, Ronaldo, Curry and more! Which got us wondering, what are some of the most lucrative clothing deals in the sports world? Here’s what we found – 

6) Lebron James & Nike

Lebron James & NikeLebron James & Nike

Considered to be arguably the greatest athlete of his generation, Lebron James was already making the headlines even before his professional debut. It is rumoured that Reebok even offered the ace a check of $10 million, which Lebron refused at the age of 18! But it all worked out for James eventually when he signed a rumoured $1 Billion (minimum) lifetime deal with Nike back in 2015. 

5) Lionel Messi & Adidas

 Lionel Messi & Adidas Lionel Messi & Adidas

It is quite surprising to see Messi this low on the list. But don’t feel too bad for the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner. The PSG star is supposedly on a lifetime contract with Adidas which nets him around $25 million annually, which makes him one of the highest-earning athletes of the sporting brand. Of course, this is without considering his other deals and the salary from the French club, which pushes him to the #2 spot on the list of highest-paid athletes in the world.

4) Roger Federer & Uniqlo

Roger Federer & UniqloRoger Federer & Uniqlo

With around 20 Grand Slams already in his trophy cabinet, Roger Federer was bound to be on this list. While the 39-year old dropped down to #7 from #1, in Forbes ranking of the highest-paid athlete in the world, we’d recommend not to feel too bad for him. According to reports, Federer signed a whopping $300 million contract (over 10 years) with the Japanese clothing brand Uniqlo. This surpasses his 20-year deal with Nike which netted him around $150 million over the years. 

3) Tiger Woods & Nike

Tiger Woods & NikeTiger Woods & Nike

Before his 2009 scandal, Tiger Woods was on track to become the first $1 billion athlete at the time. While he did lose a couple of sponsorships during the time, brands like Nike and EA Sports still continued supporting him. Now with his redemption arc in full swing, the 15-time major championship winner is said to have signed a lifetime contract with Nike worth $200 million! This makes Woods one of the highest-paid athletes of all time, with a wealth of over $1.5 Billion in 2018, of which only 10 per cent can be attributed to his prize money.

2) Cristiano Ronaldo & Nike

Cristiano Ronaldo & NikeCristiano Ronaldo & Nike

Arguably the most marketable star of our generation, Cristiano Ronaldo has an array of sponsorship deals ranging from Herbalife, Armani, Unilever and more! But the one that takes the cake has to be Nike’s lifetime endorsement deal, which is rumoured to be in excess of over $1 billion dollars. This makes him the third highest-paid athlete globally, behind only Connor McGregor and Lionel Messi. 

1) Michael Jordan & Nike

Last but not least, the creme de la creme of endorsement deals has to be between Michael Jordan and Nike. Back in 1984, Jordan signed a contract with the footwear brand to launch his own line of sneakers. While at the time he was paid around $250,000 upfront, the deal has now supposedly earned him over $1.3 billion till date. To this day, it remains to be the biggest and richest athlete endorsement deal of all time.

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