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The 50 highest-earning American athletes

Discussion in 'All Other San Diego Sports' started by Johnny Lightning, Jul 2, 2009.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006
    By Jonah Freedman, SI.com

    Is the slumping economy finally affecting America's premier athletes? For the sixth consecutive year, Sports Illustrated has compiled a list of the 50 top-earning American athletes in salary, winnings, endorsements and appearance fees. And for the first time, the average earnings of those on the list fell -- down $1.5 million per athlete to $23.6 million.

    That falloff is mostly due to lower earnings for No. 1 Tiger Woods and No. 2 Phil Mickelson, both of whom saw their on-course income shrink while also losing key endorsement deals. This year's list features 22 basketball players (a record nine who earned more than $20 million), 14 major leaguers, nine football players, three golfers and two NASCAR drivers.

    Meanwhile, the average income of the athletes on our International 20 list of the top-earning non-American sportsmen hit an all-time high $29.5 million (up slightly from 2008), thanks to big gains by those in soccer and Formula 1 racing.

    As we do every year, our findings consisted solely of salary, winnings, bonuses, endorsements and appearance fees. We consulted players' associations, tour records, agents and news reports. Our endorsement estimates came from Burns Entertainment & Sports Marketing, other sports-marketing executives and analysts, and agents. Salary figures were based on current or most recently completed seasons (the upcoming '09 season for the NFL). For winnings-based sports (auto racing, golf, tennis), we used the '08 calendar year. Candidates for the U.S. 50 had to be American citizens and currently active in their sports.


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