Sports Lists logoSports Lists

25 Athletes Who Have Been in a Million Commercials

Amber LeeSports Lists Lead WriterFebruary 11, 2013

25 Athletes Who Have Been in a Million Commercials

1 of 26

    If you think superstar athletes are paid too much just to play sports, then you don't even want to know how much some of them make in endorsements. Today there are more athletes selling more products and making more money for it than ever before. 

    Although, considering how many professional athletes there are, it sure seems like the same ones turn up in commercials year after year. While some relatively well-known athletes are relegated to local or regional advertisements, others have a new national ad hit the air every few months. 

    And if you're wondering what the difference between a regional and national commercial is in terms of monetary compensation—let's just say it's substantial. 

    Some of the highest paid athletes in the world—like LeBron James, Peyton Manning and Derek Jeter—can double, or even triple, their already massive salary with a few commercials per year. 

    Or, in the case of two very high-profile golfers, make 25 times their annual tour earnings. 

    Let's take a look at 25 athletes who are supplementing their income substantially by selling you everything and anything under the sun. 

25. Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers

2 of 26

    Career Earnings 2012: $20,100,000

    Endorsement Earnings 2012: $2,000,000

    Tigers ace Justin Verlander doesn't make nearly as much in endorsement money as the rest of the athletes on this list. But his visibility in advertising increased dramatically in 2012. 

    Verlander's major sponsorships are with Rawlings, Reebok, Chevrolet and 2KSports. And he actually met his girlfriend, model Kate Upton, while shooting a commercial for MLB 2K12

24. Tom Brady, New England Patriots

3 of 26

    Career Earnings 2012: $12,250,000

    Endorsement Earnings 2012: $10,000,000

    Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is actually making far less from endorsements today than he was several years ago. Probably because he's running out of room to keep all that money he and the wife are bringing in. 

    But that doesn't mean he's given up on the endorsement game altogether. In recent years Brady has appeared in ads for Under Armour, Dodge, UGG Australia, NFL player safety, ESPN, Visa, Stetson, Movado watches and Snickers. 

23. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins

4 of 26

    Career Earnings 2012: $8,700,000

    Endorsement Earnings 2012: $4,000,000

    Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby's combined earnings made him the highest paid player in the NHL in 2012. Not much of a surprise considering he's the face of the NHL—even if you hate him. 

    Crosby has lucrative endorsement deals with Reebok and Gatorade in the U.S., as well as deals with Bell Canada and Tim Hortons in his native Canada, all of which he's appeared in commercials for in recent years. 

22. Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers

5 of 26

    Career Earnings 2012: $5,731,080

    Endorsement Earnings 2012: No data

    Unless an athlete ranks among the highest earners in sports, the monetary details of their endorsements are difficult to come by. The massive contract extension Blake Griffin signed with the Clippers in 2012 will put him among that lucrative group from 2013 on. 

    Those massive paychecks will add to the money he's already making through endorsements with Kia, EA Sports, Subway, AT&T, Red Bull and GameFly. Griffin has been one of the most visible athlete in advertising over the past 12 months. 

21. Albert Pujols, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

6 of 26

    Career Earnings 2012: $12,000,000

    Endorsement Earnings 2012: $8,000,000

    Slugger Albert Pujols cashed in on years of success with the Cardinals in 2011, signing with the Angels, who offered him the third largest contract in baseball history. His massive salary is padded with lucrative endorsement deals. 

    Pujols' current major sponsors are Upper Deck, DirecTV and Nike. But he's also appeared in commercials for ESPN, MVP Baseball, Wheaties and Dove in the last several years. 

20. Ray Lewis, Baltimore Ravens

7 of 26

    Career Earnings 2012: $6,300,000

    Endorsement Earnings 2012: No data

    There is no exact figure out there revealing the income recently retired Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis has been pulling in for his many endorsements. Perhaps because he doesn't rank among the top earners in sports. 

    Lack of financial details aside, it's safe to say that Lewis has been doing pretty well in that department. In the past one to two years alone he's appeared in commercials for Visa, Under Armour, EA Sports, Old Spice and NFL player safety. 

19. Danica Patrick, NASCAR

8 of 26

    Combined Earnings 2012: $13,000,000

    If an earnings breakdown for NASCAR Danica Patrick exists online, I was unable to find it. Everything referencing her annual income was the combined total of race winnings and endorsement earnings. 

    But considering her average finish in NASCAR races, it's safe to say that the vast majority of Patrick's wealth is derived from major sponsors like Coca-Cola, GoDaddy, Nationwide Insurance, Chevrolet, Peak Antifreeze, and Hot Wheels. 

    Since 2006 Patrick, has starred in more than a dozen commercials for GoDaddy alone, including a number of prominent spots in their Super Bowl advertising. 

18. Dwight Howard, Los Angeles Lakers

9 of 26

    Career Earnings 2012: $14,490,000

    Endorsement Earnings 2012: $11,000,000

    Lakers big man Dwight Howard might not be having a great year on the court, but off the court he's doing as well as he ever has—at least in terms of lucrative endorsement deals. 

    Howard's main sponsorship deals are with Adidas and McDonalds, but he's also done commercials for ESPN, EA Sports, T-Mobile and Vitamin Water. 

17. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

10 of 26

    Career Earnings 2012: $8,000,000

    Endorsement Earnings 2012: $4,000,000

    Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is entering the second-to-last year of his contract in 2013, but you can bet that he's got an extension coming his way that may make him the highest paid player in NFL history. 

    That will add to the piles of money Rogers has been raking in with the endorsement deals he's got with State Farm, Nike, Wheaties, Pizza Hut, Ford and a number of regional and local sponsors in the Green Bay area. His "discount double-check" commercials have proved especially popular. 

16. Tony Stewart, NASCAR

11 of 26

    Career Earnings 2012: $6,530,000

    Endorsement Earnings 2012: $15,470,000

    Tony Stewart is actually one of NASCAR's highest earners in terms of pure salary, but he lags behind the top-earning drivers slightly in terms of endorsement earnings. Not that he's hurting, though.

    Stewart has major sponsorships with Coca-Cola, Kraft and Office Depot. In the past two years he's also appeared in commercials for Burger King, Sunoco, Armor All, Home Depot and the Indianapolis Zoo. 

15. Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat

12 of 26

    Career Earnings 2012: $12,638,500

    Endorsement Earnings 2012: $12,000,000

    The money Heat superstar Dwyane Wade earned in 2012 was an almost even 50-50 split between salary and endorsement earnings. Only four players in the NBA bring in more money from sponsorship than D-Wade. 

    Wade has big-time sponsorship deals with Gatorade and Nike, in addition to Humboldt watches and Pepperidge Farm. In the past he's appeared in commercials for Converse and T-Mobile as well. 

14. Jeff Gordon, NASCAR

13 of 26

    Career Earnings 2012: $5,912,830

    Endorsement Earnings 2012: $18,000,000

    Except for Danica Patrick and Dale Earnhardt Jr., there is no NASCAR driver that routinely earns a bigger percentage of his overall income from endorsements than Jeff Gordon. In 2012, 76 percent of his earnings came from his sponsorship deals. 

    Gordon has contracts with some really big fish, which is why he's paid so handsomely. He's appeared in commercials for Pepsi, DuPont, Chevrolet, Quaker State, Goodyear and ESPN. In the past he's shilled for Nextel, Fritos, Coca-Cola and Tylenol. 

13. Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers

14 of 26

    Career Earnings 2012: $20,286,000

    Endorsement Earnings 2012: $28,000,000

    Not only is Lakers legend Kobe Bryant the highest paid player in the NBA by far, he also earns more money from endorsements than every other player in the league except Heat superstar LeBron James. Overall, Kobe outearns LeBron by about $4 million per year. 

    Bryant's major sponsors include Mercedes-Benz, Coca-Cola, Nike, Panini America and Turkish Airlines. His recent commercial for Turkish Airlines, which co-starred Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi, is one of the more creative and charming athlete commercials we've seen in awhile. 

12. Serena Williams, Tennis

15 of 26

    Career Earnings 2012: $5,300,000

    Endorsement Earnings 2012: $11,000,000

    Tennis great Serena Williams is routinely ranked among the highest earning female athletes in the world. The fact that she earns nearly 35 percent of her income from her performance on the court makes her unique among other female top earners. 

    Williams makes twice that through major sponsorship deals with Nike, Gatorade, Hewlett-Packard, Kraft, McDonalds, Estée Lauder and Puma. She also starred with her sister in a recent commercial for Apple, as well a Kraft commercial which costarred Peyton and Eli Manning.  

11. Derek Jeter, New York Yankees

16 of 26

    Career Earnings 2012: $15,729,364

    Endorsement Earnings 2012: $12,000,000

    Long-time Yankee Derek Jeter may be pushing 40, but his advancing age hasn't been pushing down his earning ability. He was ranked the No. 9 highest paid American athlete in 2012, and more than half of the almost $30 million he banked came from his play on the field. 

    But Jeter has always been a magnet for high-profile sponsors, including the lucrative deals he currently has with Gillette, Movado, Gatorade, Ford and Nike. In the past, The Jeet has shilled for Visa, Fila, and Upper Deck and has also appeared in commercials for ESPN.

10. Michael Phelps, Olympic Swimmer

17 of 26

    Earnings Per Year: Approximately $6,000,000

    There is no breakdown of Michael Phelps' earning available, but he's worth upwards of $50 million, the vast majority of which he earned through endorsements. Who knows how much money there is in swimming alone?

    But being an Olympic superstar helped Phelps land lucrative sponsorship deals with Powerbar, Subway, Visa, Head and Shoulders, Speedo, Under Armour, Hilton, Louis Vuitton, 505 Games and Hewlett-Packard.

9. Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder

18 of 26

    Career Earnings 2012: $14,000,000

    Endorsement Earnings 2012: $12,482,840

    Thunder superstar Kevin Durant currently earns around 55 percent of his total income from endorsements. He trails only LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Derrick Rose in overall earnings from endorsements. 

    Lucrative sponsorship deals with giants like Gatorade, General Electric, Nike and (to a lesser degree) Sprint and Panini America, have made Durant the No. 34 highest paid athlete in the world. And considering he's only 24, you can expect that list to keep growing for years to come. 

8. Eli Manning, New York Giants

19 of 26

    Career Earnings 2012: $11,750,000

    Endorsement Earnings 2012: $10,000,000

    Giants quarterback Eli Manning followed in the proud tradition of big brother Peyton by appearing in commercials for absolutely everything. Around 45 percent of his overall income comes from endorsement deals—some of which he shares with Peyton. 

    Manning has got a number of major sponsors, which include Reebok, Toyota, Samsung, Kraft, DirecTV and Dunkin' Donuts. He's also appeared in commercials for the NFL, ESPN and Monday Night Football

7. Jimmie Johnson, NASCAR

20 of 26

    Career Earnings 2012: $6,296,360

    Endorsement Earnings 2012: $14,703,640

    Like nearly every NASCAR driver whose name you recognize, Jimmie Johnson more than doubles his race earnings with endorsement deals. Of the more than $20 million he made in 2012, 62 percent of that was earned off the track. 

    In addition to lucrative sponsorship deals with Chevrolet, Quaker State and Lowe's, Johnson starred alongside a baby porcupine named Prickle Bear in the most adorable ESPN commercial of all time. 

6. Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls

21 of 26

    Career Earnings 2012: $5,621,880

    Endorsement Earnings 2012: $18,230,770

    Bulls superstar point guard Derrick Rose was knocked out of the 2012 playoffs with a serious knee injury that he has yet to return from. An unfortunate incident for sure, but at least his bank account wasn't dented. 

    There are few athletes in the U.S. that even come close to raking in the kind of endorsement money Rose does. He's got deals with Powerade, Foot Locker, 2K Sports, Skullcandy and Wilson Sporting Goods, and in 2012 he signed a $260 million contract with Adidas.

5. Tiger Woods, PGA

22 of 26

    Career Earnings 2012: $1,940,238

    Endorsement Earnings 2012: $54,500,000

    There is no American athlete who earns a greater percentage of his total income from endorsements than golf superstar Tiger Woods. Of the nearly $60 million he earned in 2012, a whopping 96 percent of that came from his sponsors. 

    Woods' cheating scandal and the extended drought between majors that followed haven't hurt him much in terms of marketability. He remains an advertising staple for Nike, EA Spots, Kowa, Upper Deck, NetJets and Rolex. Woods has also appeared in commercials for ESPN.

4. Phil Mickelson, PGA

23 of 26

    Career Earnings 2012: $3,763,488

    Endorsement Earnings 2012: $57,000,000

    Believe it or not, PGA golfer Phil Mickelson was the second highest earning American athlete in 2012. Although, he didn't earn much of his income on the greens—93 percent of his total income was the result of endorsement deals. 

    Mickelson has become the face of psoriatic arthritis, hawking the prescription drug Enbrel in commercials for Pfizer. He also rakes in cash from deals with KPMG, Callaway, Barclays, Exxon Mobile and Rolex. 

3. Dale Earnhardt, Jr., NASCAR

24 of 26

    Career Earnings 2012: $4,164,690

    Endorsement Earnings 2012: $24,000,000

    NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. was ranked the No. 8 highest paid American athlete in 2012—up five spots from the previous year. He made the most money overall of the four drivers to crack the top 50, but netted the least race winnings. 

    Earnhardt surpassed all drivers in endorsements back in 2004, and he has yet to cede any ground. His major sponsorship deals include Chevrolet, Wrangler, Budweiser, Domino's Pizza, Gillette, TaxSlayer and KLN Family Brands. 

    He's also been known to promote some really obscure things. Earnhardt has shilled for bowling balls, a pet safety harness, a vending machine cheeseburger and Goody's headache powder. Yep. Powder for your headache. 

2. LeBron James, Miami Heat

25 of 26

    Career Earnings 2012: $12,880,000

    Endorsement Earnings 2012: $33,000,000

    Heat superstar LeBron James may have taken a pay cut to play alongside Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami, but he more than makes up for it with the massive amount of money he brings in through a plethora of endorsement deals. 

    King James has mega contracts with industry kingpins like Coca-Cola, McDonalds and Nike, as well as lesser deals with Upper Deck, Dunkin' Donuts and State Farm Insurance. Over the past decade he's been one of Nike's most visible spokesmen. 

1. Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos

26 of 26

    Career Earnings 2012: $18,000,000

    Endorsement Earnings 2012: $13,000,000

    Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning's combined earnings from his salary and endorsements made him, by far, the highest earning player in the NFL in 2012. Anyone who is surprised by that obviously hasn't been watching television in the past five years. 

    Seriously. Has any athlete in history even come close to the dominating advertising presence of Peyton Manning? Didn't he do 10 spots for Papa John's in the past year alone?

    Manning currently has major sponsorship deals with Reebok, Wheaties, Gatorade, Papa John's, DirecTV and Sony. In the past he's also appeared in commercials for Oreo, Sprint, MasterCard, ESPN and the United Way…sorta.  

     

    **And that, as they say, is that. Follow me on Twitter if you'd like. No hard feelings if you don't. 

Where can I comment?

Stay on your game

Latest news, insights, and forecasts on your teams across leagues.

Choose Teams
Get it on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Real-time news for your teams right on your mobile device.

Download
Copyright © 2017 Bleacher Report, Inc. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved. BleacherReport.com is part of Bleacher Report – Turner Sports Network, part of the Turner Sports and Entertainment Network. Certain photos copyright © 2017 Getty Images. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of Getty Images is strictly prohibited. AdChoices