Sportress of Blogitude

LeBron James tops Tiger Woods for most valuable athlete ‘brand’ in Forbes’ ‘Fab 40’ list

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For the first time since in eight years, Tiger Woods does not sit atop the list as most valuable athlete “brand,” according to Forbes. The No. 1 ranking now belongs to LeBron James, who supplanted the golf superstar for the first time.

The “Forbes Fab 40″ not only calculates the relative brand worth of athletes, it also ranks businesses, events and teams.

But for athletes, King James reigns supreme.

With a “2014 Brand Value” calculated at $37 million, James barely eked out the computed value for Woods, which stands for the 2014 year at a very respectable $36 million.

James’ “Brand Value” jumped by $10 million from 2013 to 2014 — an increase that at least partially may be tied to the goodwill generated by his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers — while Woods’ dropped by the same margin, down from $46 million in 2013.

For Woods, $36 million is not too shabby considering the 14-time major winner had an injury-plagued PGA Tour season which compounded his decrease in marketability that has been in a steady decline since scandal plagued his personal life in late 2009.

And yet, Woods soldiers on, raking in mountains of money through endorsements, separate from his on-course income, as salary earned from their respective sports was not used to calculate brand value.

James, meanwhile, only saw his marketability — and the money earned by it — jump considerably, thanks to endorsement relationships with Nike, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and Upper Deck, Forbes notes.

The seven superstars below round out the remaining athletes on the list, along with their 2014 Brand Value.

3) Roger Federer — $32 million

4) Phil Mickelson — $29 million

5) Mahendra Singh Dhoni (cricket) — $20 million

6) Usain Bolt — $19 million

7) Cristiano Ronaldo — $17 million

8) Kobe Bryant — $15 million

9) Lionel Messi — $12 million

10) Rafael Nadal — $10 million

It’s interesting to note that only one other NBA player (Kobe) and one other golfer (Phil Mickelson) cracked the Top 10 while the remaining six slots are occupied by athletes who play more “global” sports.