Woods has struggled to win tournaments and sign new sponsorship deals since his November 2009 car crash and the infidelity scandal that followed. Yet Woods continues to be the world’s best-paid athlete thanks to $3 million overseas appearance fees and two sponsors that stuck with him: Nike and Electronic Arts. First week sales this spring of EA Sports’ Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters were the highest in the 14-year history of the popular video game franchise.
The Real Madrid star is using social media to expand his brand, which makes him more attractive to current sponsorship partners like Nike, Castrol, Clear Shampoo and Banco Espirito. Ronaldo has racked up 25 million Facebook fans, more than twice as many as any other athlete. He also has nearly 3 million Twitter followers.
Nadal became the youngest player in the Open Era to capture the career Grand Slam when he won the U.S. Open in September, 2010 at age 24. Nadal’s endorsement portfolio has begun to catch up with his on-court success. This year he started shilling for Bacardi and Giorgio Armani in addition to holdovers like Nike, Babolat and Kia Motor. He earned $10.5 million in prize money over the last 12 months.
A-Rod was the top unsecured creditor when the Texas Rangers filed for bankruptcy last year. He was owed $24.9 million in deferred compensation from the record-breaking $252 million contract he signed with Texas in 2000. The issue was resolved when a group led by Nolan Ryan and Chuck Greenberg purchased the Rangers at a bankruptcy auction for $593 million in August.
The two-time league MVP signed a four-year, $72 million contract extension in September with the Patriots that is the NFL’s richest deal on an annual basis. Brady swapped his Nikes for Under Armour cleats in November when he became the brand’s highest-profile player. Brady sold his New York City condo for $17.5 million and managed to turn a $3.5 million profit despite buying the home at the market peak in 2006. He and his wife, model Gisele Bündchen recently built a 20,000 square foot, $20 million home in Los Angeles.