£155m contract propels McIlroy into big league

GOLFER Rory McIlroy has underlined his status as one of sport’s hottest properties by signing a blockbusting sponsorship deal with Nike that could earn him up to £155m.

McIlroy’s 10-year alliance with the American sportswear giant was confirmed yesterday, and propels the 23-year-old US PGA champion into the top league of global sports earners.

The Northern Irishman’s deal, which sees him join the same stable as the main threat to his world No1 status, 14-time Major winner Tiger Woods, is thought to be worth up to $250m (£155m), including bonuses.

That means McIlroy stands to pocket £15.5m annually, £1.3m per month, or £42,000 every day.

McIlroy’s contract is set to see him become the third highest earning golfer in the world, behind Woods and Phil Mickelson, and push him into the top 10 sportspeople overall.

Woods earned £37m annually, according to estimates by Forbes magazine last summer – a sum made up almost entirely of endorsements, in which he took a cut of sales. Mickelson also reaped the vast majority of his £29.7m from sponsorships, including with golf brand Callaway.

McIlroy out-performed both on the course last year to finish the highest earner in both the European and PGA Tours, tightening his grip on the world No1 spot.

The Ryder Cup star’s deal with Nike will see him sport the company’s products head-to-toe, bringing to an end his contracts with golf manufacturer Titleist, resort group Jumeirah and sunglasses maker Oakley.

SPORT’S TOP EARNERS

1) Floyd Mayweather, boxing
Total £52.9m, endorsements £0

2) Manny Pacquiao, boxing
Total £38.6m, endorsements £3.7m

3) Tiger Woods, golf
Total £37m, endorsements £34.2m

4) LeBron James, basketball
Total £33m, endorsements £24.9m

5) Roger Federer, tennis
Total £32.8m, endorsements £28m

6) Kobe Bryant, basketball
Total £32.5m, endorsements £19.9

7) Phil Mickelson, golf
Total £29.7m, endorsements £26.8m

8) David Beckham, football
Total £28.6m, endorsements £23m

9) Cristiano Ronaldo, football
Total £26.4m, endorsements £13.7m

10) Peyton Manning, American football Total £26.4m, endorsements £6.2m