The Race for Billions

Dan Piersma, Staff Writer

Athletes today are seeing the biggest contracts in the history of sports. With market advancements, the trend will continue to go up.

Not only are athletes getting big money from sports but many of them sign deals with shoe companies or clothing brands to release certain apparel that’s specific to them. With a raised question recently from ESPN, one has to wonder when the current athlete will reach the billion dollar threshold.

Michael Jordan has a net worth of $1.9 billion with many brands including Jordan itself. Current athletes, however, such as LeBron James, Lionel Messi, Tiger Woods and Roger Federer currently top the list of athletes with the highest net worth.

Some Utica College students shared their thoughts on who they think will win this current race to $1 billion net worth. 

Seniors John Franchi and David Cooney both believe that James will be the first athlete to accomplish this feat. Currently James’ net worth is at $450 million, according to Forbes magazine. James is one of the most popular athletes in the world today and even at 34 years old still one of the best in basketball. 

“Tiger doesn’t quite have the name recognition that he had quite a few years ago, and James is a savvy investor,” Cooney said. 

James’ lifetime contract with Nike and his vision to start a school for children currently show worth while giving it back to the community. His I PROMISE school located in his hometown Akron, Ohio gives a chance to 240 children. 

Senior communications major Nick Ahles believes that Woods will be the current athlete to reach this goal first. Currently, Woods sits at a net worth of $800 million, according to Forbes magazine. Woods has sponsorships with companies like Nike, Bridgestone, Monster Energy and many other networks in which he earns money. 

Senior Mark Mitchell is confident that New England Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady will win the race. At 42 years old and currently in year 20 of his NFL career, Brady’s net worth is $180 million.  

According to Forbes, Brady’s current salary and winnings has reached $36.1 million while earning $8 million in endorsements. 

With Woods and James being towards the front of the pack, Forbes ranks Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar and boxer Canelo Alvarez as the four richest world athletes.