According to Forbes, Golfing pro Tiger Woods will become the world’s first billionaire athlete in the next few years.
In 2007 alone, Woods earned $115 million, $65 million more than the second highest paid athlete, David Beckham.
Woods’ career earnings will hit the $1 billion mark by 2010 but given the taxes (45%), Tiger Woods should join the list of the world’s billionaires in 2011.
It will be an unprecedented occurrence. There are plenty of billionaires who have excelled at sports, but there are no billionaires who accumulated their fortune by playing sports.
“A billionaire Tiger would also be unique for earning his money through paychecks. If a billionaire didn’t inherit his or her money, he or she typically made it by holding a stake in a company with a soaring valuation”
Of course, most of his wealth comes from endorsement deals as Prize money only accounts for about one-tenth of his earnings.
When Nike signed Woods to an endorsement deal in 1996, it didn’t have a separate golf unit. It launched one in 1998, with Woods at the center of its marketing push. Last year, Nike Golf posted over $600 million in sales. It is now the biggest golf apparel company in the world.
Television ratings for golf tournaments increase by nearly a third when Woods is playing though. “He has brought a new level of interest and fans to the sport that weren’t there before he arrived”.