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by Affirm

Top pro athletes wear Rolex


Tiger WoodsSince 1990, Forbes magazine has been tracking the earnings of top athletes and earlier this June, Forbes released the 2013 listing of the 100 highest paid athletes.  This year’s list comprises of athletes from 23 different countries playing 11 different sports led by baseball with 27 players, then basketball, America football, and American soccer.  In 1990 American boxer Mike Tyson topped the list at 28.6 million dollars, which would now rank number 25 on the list. Prize winnings is not fueling the increased revenue for professional athletes, but rather the skyrocketing television and endorsement deals are what is making these athletes very wealthy.  What is ever more surprising is that among the top 30 in the Forbes list, 15 are under contract for endorsing a watch brand, and more than half of the top 100 are associated with a major watch with Rolex in the mix.

Topping the list is Tiger Woods who tops out at 78.1 million comprised a paltry 13.1 million dollars in salary/winnings, backfilled by 65 million dollars in endorsements, including Rolex.  Number two on the list is Roger Federer who comes in just below Tiger at 71.5 million and so too is sponsored by Rolex.  Number three on the list is basketball player Kobe Bryant at 61.9 million, and sponsored by Hublot. Nevertheless, Rolex sponsors golfer Phil Mickelson, race car driver Tom Kristensen and race car legend Jackie Stewart, tennis player Li Na among other highly respected professional athletes.

cancellara-iwcWhat is very apparent that professional athletes go after watch deals, Tudor,Rolex, TAG Heuer, Girard-Perregaux, Omega and Richard Mille are found on the wrist of professional athletes. Both Richard Mille and IWC have sponsored cyclists with IWC being seen on the wrist of Fabian Cancellara both while cycling and in advertisements for the brand, and Richard Mille gave a rare RM 027 tourbillion to Andy Schleck to wear on the critical stage of the 2011 Tour de France, Stage 19 in pursuit of the yellow jersey which he won that day.

Either on the raceway, golf course, tennis pavilion, prize presentation, and on the red carpet photo staging area, there is no question that wearing a sponsor’s watch is de-rigueur for professional athletes. Being spotted wearing a high-end wrist watch during competition or during any other high profile activity translates into dollars for professional athletes bringing into question whether the athlete selects the brand, or does the brand select the athlete. With the publicity, image building, need for telling time all mixed in with dollars, the truth lies in there somewhere.

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