The age of an athlete can have an effect on their endorsement earning potential. Let’s face it, an athlete’s playing career comes with an expiration date. But, as you’ll see, that doesn’t always mean the same thing for their endorsement career.
Let’s take a look at how age plays a factor on the earning potential of an athlete and some athletes who haven’t let age slow down their earnings.
How Does Age Affect Endorsement Earning Potential?
Most athletes earn their highest income while they’re still playing and prominent in the public eye. However, it usually takes more than just being in the league to land endorsement bucks. Winning big games and championships is more likely to generate endorsement opportunities.
That’s why most athletes enjoy their highest earning potential once they have established themselves as a pro and have won at the highest levels. Although there are exceptions, it can take years for a professional athlete to accomplish those feats, which is why most athletes realize their greatest earning potential around midway through their career, or slightly thereafter. Why? Around this time is when most athletes are at their playing peak and thus are most likely to be competing for championships and producing the best statistical seasons. Those championships and eye popping statistical seasons garner media and fan attention, plateauing the athlete to their highest endorsement earning potential.
Of course there are exceptions, (think LeBron, Derrick Rose, etc.), however, most athletes don’t sign multi-million dollar shoe deals at age 18. In fact, even LeBron has seen his highest earning endorsement years come after being in the league for a handful of years and winning championships. It takes effort to win games and time to become publicly known in order for an athlete to maximize their endorsement earning potential.
As an athlete’s career begins to wind down, and new athletes begin to emerge and take over the spotlight, endorsement earning potential transfers to the next generation.
However, there are some exceptions…
Age Didn’t Slow These Athlete Endorsers Down
Some athletes transcend sports and become cultural icons. In these instances, their endorsement potential remains strong with loyal fans long after they have played their final game.
Even though he hasn’t played professional basketball in over a decade, MJ still makes around $80 million in endorsements per year thanks to deals with Nike, Hanes, Gatorade and 2K Sports. He was the greatest on the court and his numbers suggest he may be the greatest athlete endorser ever, as well.
As his career and earnings were winding down in the late 90’s, Foreman was approached by Salton to endorse a revolutionary new grill. However, Foreman wasn’t “interested in toys,” and so the grill sat around his house untouched for over six months.
That is until his wife, Mary, decided to try it out one day. She loved the grill, but George wasn’t convinced yet. So, Mary cooked him a hamburger on it. “The grease, everything went away and the meat was delicious,” Foreman said. “So I called my partners back and said, ‘I’m going to do that deal.'”
A few years, and millions of grills later, Salton paid Foreman $137.5 million to buy out the right to use his name on their grills permanently. Add in Foreman’s share of sales and television appearances and it is estimated that Foreman has made $200 million from endorsing the George Foreman Grill! Foreman didn’t let age slow him down in the ring or in the endorsement game. He set the bar for post career endorsement success.
Beckham’s 20 year professional career may have ended but his endorsement earnings are still solid. Last year Beckham made $42 million in endorsements with Adidas, Samsung, H&M and Sainsbury. His next challenge? Starting an MLS team in Miami.
What is the Right Age for Your Brand?
Looking at the age of your consumers is one factor to determine when selecting an athlete. However, the best athlete endorser for your brand doesn’t necessarily have to come from a single or certain age demographic. Remember, the most important factor to consider when building an endorsement campaign is which athletes will be able to reach, connect and engage with your brand’s target market.
Now, are you ready to select athletes for your own endorsement campaign?
Head over to opendorse and sign up (for free) and we can help you select the best athletes to endorse your brand.