An essential source of income for athletes is endorsement deals, and some of the most famous athletes have gone down in history after losing deals. Prestigious brands invite athletes to endorse them as their popularity increases since they want to propagate a success story. Endorsement deals also form a significant source of wealth and fame for them. However, sometimes athletes lose huge endorsement deals due to controversies, scandals, and fights.
Here’s a list of athletes who lost huge endorsement deals during their sports careers.
9 Tiger Woods
Tiger woods is one of the most well-known golfers in its history. He was also the brand ambassador for several prestigious brands like Accenture, AT&T, and Gatorade.
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He lost these endorsement deals one by one when it became public that he had been cheating on his wife with many extramarital affairs. The amount of wealth lost would account for up to $22 million. Reports also suggested that his wife smashed the window of one of his precious cars with a golf stick.
8 Lance Armstrong
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Apart from being a brilliant cyclist, Lance Armstrong also gained popularity as a cancer survivor. He was seen as the hero who got back to his realm of cycling as soon as he recovered.
Nevertheless, Armstrong lost about 11 sponsors in one day after U.S. Anti-Doping Agency revealed that he indulged in doping and taking performance enhancement drugs for his cycling. The lost deals included prestigious brands Nike, Trek, Easton-Bell Sports, 24-Hour Fitness, RadioShack, and Oakley. The money he lost could have been an approximate $150 million.
7 Michael Vick
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Michael Vick was once a famous quarterback for Atlanta Falcons, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Jets, and Pittsburgh Steelers. In 2007 he became part of a massive scandal and crime.
Vick was found guilty of being complicit in a dogfighting ring on his property. He was also guilty of horrible acts to dogs that underperformed in the dogfighting. The quarterback not only lost his endorsement deals with brands like Rawlings and Nike but also served 21 months in prison.
6 Mike Tyson
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Mike Tyson was once one of the best boxers in the world, especially in the year 1988. Soon after, he was stripped of all the sponsoring due to accusations regarding several heinous crimes.
Most famous of all was the accusation from his former wife Robin Givens about violence related to drug addiction. He lost deals with USA Today, Toyota, Kodak, and Suntory Beer. The only sponsor he was left with was Nintendo, although he lost that deal too after losing against Buster Douglas in 1991.
5 Maria Sharapova
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Maria Sharapova was one of the best tennis players in the world and a real inspiration for emerging women athletes. She was reportedly the highest-paid female sportsperson.
Things went south in 2016 when she failed a drug test. She claimed that she had taken a drug that she was unaware of and was banned in her profession. She instantly started losing endorsement deals with companies like Avon, American Express, and TAG Heuer. It was Nike that decided to stick with her during these difficult times.
4 Oscar Pistorius
Oscar Pistorius had the fantastic record of being a champion racer in the Olympics. However, in 2013 he was convicted of murder.
He was reported to have shot his girlfriend named Reeva Steenkamp, who was a model. He later served about six years in prison, and his endorsement ties with Thierry Mugler, Oakley, and Nike were deeply affected. As a result, he incurred a loss of about $2 million.
3 Rashard Mendenhall
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Rashard Jamal Mendenhall was once an American football running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Arizona Cardinals. He won the Super Bowl in 2009. However, his career abruptly ended in 2011 with a controversial Twitter statement.
It was Mendenhall’s reaction to Obama’s announcement about US Navy SEALS after the raid of Osama Bin Laden. Although Mendenhall apologized for creating controversy, he instantly lost a lucrative endorsement deal with the brand Champion.
2 Wayne Rooney
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Wayne Rooney made a record by scoring 34 goals in 44 games on behalf of Manchester United. Once the most marketable player, Rooney soon lost his marketing game after being accused of infidelity in 2010.
Critics saw it as shameful as he had been cheating on his pregnant wife. Coca-Cola dropped their endorsement deal with this British soccer champion. However, brands like Nike maintained their relationship with the player even after the scandal.
1 Ben Johnson
Ben Johnson made Canada proud after winning the gold medal for a 100-meter race at the 1998 Olympics. His success was, however, short-lived.
Ben was stripped of his gold medal and his status as a world champion when the Olympic Doping Control Center found a banned alcoholic steroid substance called stanozolol in his blood and urine. According to Go Banking Rates, He lost an endorsement deal worth about $2.8 million with Diadora, an Italian brand.
Some of these athletes got into some other professions after losing their career and endorsement deals. However, losing these amazing endorsement deals may have been an enormous blow to their source of income.
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Source: The Sportster, CBS News, Go Banking Rates
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