#1 Roger Federer
Total earnings: $56.2 million Prize money: $4.2 million Endorsements: $52 million Federer holds the records for most singles Grand Slam wins (17) and career prize money ($84 million). His endorsement portfolio is filled with long-term deals with blue-chip companies like Nike, Rolex and Credit Suisse, who collectively pay him more than $40 million annually.
Worldwide tennis sponsorship spending is expected to hit $739 million in 2014, according to IEG, and no player secures a bigger piece of the pie than Federer. His loaded endorsement portfolio includes 10 brands like Nike, Wilson, Credit Suisse, Mercedes-Benz, Gillette and Moet & Chandon. They collectively pay him more than $40 million annually to pitch their wares. Federer’s strong performance and good health has kept him playing deep into tournaments almost year-round for more than 10 years. He is as reliable as the watches of his sponsor Rolex and provides great value for his partners.
The world’s 10 highest-paid tennis players made a combined $61 million in prize money between June 2012 and June 2013, but the big money is off the court where this group banked nearly $200 million from endorsements, exhibitions and appearance fees. The sport’s global nature is clear looking at tennis’ best-paid stars, as they hail from 10 different countries. The top 10 is split evenly between men and women.
Rafael Nadal ranks second with earnings of $44.5 million. He is the defending U.S. Open champion, but will miss the 2014 event with a wrist injury. Nadal had a monster 2013 when he won two Grand Slams (French Open, U.S. Open) and finished the year ranked No. 1 in the world. The wins and top year-end ranking kicked in bonuses from sponsors in addition to the $14.5 million in prize money he earned between June and June. Nadal added a ninth French Open title in June and is now 66-1 all time at Roland Garros. Nadal’s biggest endorsement partner is Nike where his earnings are heavily tied to his year-end rank. Other current sponsors include Babolat, Mapfre, Banc Sabadell, Richard Mille, Kia Motors, Mueller and Poker Stars.
Novak Djokovic earned $33.1 million, including $12.1 million in prize money, and ranks No. 3 among the best-paid. The world’s top-ranked player has been on an incredible roll since he elevated his game starting in 2011. He appeared in the finals of nine of the 12 Grand Slams (winning five) and pocketed $38 million in prize money between 2011 and 2013. Djokovic is the favorite at Flushing Meadow with Bovada’s pre-tournament odds at 11/8 he wins his second Open title. Djokovic’s endorsement profile has picked up in recent years and is starting to match his game. He signed lucrative deals with Peugot and Seiko this year. Djokovic also cashes in with $1 million a pop exhibition fees, as he is a popular draw for his spot-on impersonations of other players during these informal events. Djokovic donated his $750,000 winner’s check for winning the Italian Open in May to relief efforts from flooding in his native Serbia.
It has been a Golden Era for men’s tennis with the play of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic. The Big Three has collectively won 38 Grand Slam titles and $220 million in prize money during their careers (Andy Murray has made it a Big Four in recent years, but still has just two Slams to his name). They rank as the top three on the ATP’s career prize money list with Federer on top at $84 million, but Nadal ($71 million) and Djokovic ($65 million) have closed the gap in recent years. Total prize money at the 2014 Open is $36.2 million with the men’s and women’s winner each pocketing $3 million.
Maria Sharapova leads a group of five women among the 10 best-paid. She earned $24.4 million and ranks No. 4 overall. Sharapova has been the highest-paid female athlete for a decade since she broke through and won Wimbledon at 17 years old in 2004. Sharapova added a deal with Avon Products AVP -0.15% this spring. The company will use Sharapova as the face of its new fragrance for men and women: Avon Luck. Her other partners include Nike, Head, Samsung, Tag Heuer, Porsche and Evian.
Murray is one of the biggest movers this year with his earnings up more than $4 million after he became the first Brit to win Wimbledon since 1936, triggering lucrative bonuses from sponsors Adidas and Head. He ranks No. 7 with total earnings of $19.1 million. Murray’s Adidas deal expires this year, and he is expected to ink a lucrative new agreement with either Adidas or Nike. Murray added a patch deal with Scottish financial services firm Standard Life in 2014 worth more than $2 million a year.
by Kurt BadenhausenKurt Badenhausen Forbes Staff