LeBron James, David Beckham and Maria Sharapova have him beat
Watch out David, Odell is right behind you.
New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has inked a $29 million, five-year deal with Nike according to footwear news site Nicekicks, which added that it was the largest endorsement contract ever signed by a National Football League player. The deal also reportedly comes with clauses that would allow Nike to extend the deal into an eight-year arrangement worth $48 million.
Beckham previously had a deal with Nike that expired on May 1st and the renewal attracted much attention. The footballer reportedly wanted the deal to go beyond shoes into a full apparel line and entertained offers from both Adidas and Nike. The American sportswear giant clinched the deal after matching the offer of its European competitor.
The long-term plan is to grow Beckham into a brand beyond the football field. The 24-year-old already has sponsorship agreements with Dunkin Donuts and his jersey is one of the NFL’s top sellers, according to ESPN. “This [deal] proved he’s an icon,” Beckham’s agent told the sports news service.
While Beckham’s deal is undoubtedly lucrative, he still has some way to go before he matches some of sports’ bigger names. Here are five of the biggest athlete endorsement contracts:
1. The biggest sports endorsement deal of all time might just belong to LeBron James, who entered a lifetime deal with Nike in 2015. Specifics were elusive, but it was said to be the largest sponsorship agreement that Nike has entered into. Some estimates peg it at $1 billion, an amount that James’ manager doesn’t dispute.
2. At about the time he signed for Real Madrid in 2003, soccer icon David Beckham inked a $160 million lifetime deal with Adidas. Though Beckham has retired, the sportswear maker is still milking that deal. It recently relaunched Beckham’s Predator Mania boots—which every kid wanted in the earlier Noughties—to mark Golden Balls’ 41st birthday.
3. Derrick Rose might have struggled with injuries recently, but he’s set for life. In 2012, the basketball guard, who is currently a free agent, reportedly signed a 14-year extension to an existing Adidas deal. The contract is estimated to be worth up to $260 million.
4. Another big basketball name is Kevin Durant. Wags had speculated that he might switch from the Swoosh to Under Armor, but in 2014 he agreed to a 10-year contract with Nike that’s worth between $265 to $285 million.
5. For a long time, Maria Sharapova was the highest paid female athlete in the world. Her star has dimmed since failing a drug test at last year’s Australian Open and was banned was two years (later shortened to 15 months.) Nike however, is standing by the Russian tennis champ—who it signed to an eight year deal in 2010 that estimates peg at as much as $100 million.
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