NBA Stars Make 10x More In Endorsements Compared To MLB Players

Nick Raffoul
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The 2022 World Series is underway but it seems like MLB’s brightest stars won’t be cashing in compared to players from other sports.

A new study released by Sportico, sourced by Fair Betting Sites, indicates that highest-paid baseball players earn more than 10x less in endorsements than the top NBA stars.

While baseball players ranked fourth in salary, they ranked second-last in endorsement income.

The MLB earned nearly $1.2 billion in sponsorship income in 2021-22 but the top-15 baseball players made just $32 million in endorsements combined.

How Much Do Top Earners In Each Sport Make In Endorsements?

The top 15 earners in the MLB earned only $32 million in endorsements.

While that number might seem like a lot, it pales in comparison to the figures thrown around at some of basketball’s biggest stars.

According to the study, the top-15 earners in the NBA make 10x more in endorsement money than the highest paid MLB players.

The richest NBA players brought in $341 million in sponsorship money, the most of any professional sport.

Surprisingly, golfers and tennis players were next on the list, bringing in $298 million and $253 million, respectively.

Hockey players generated the lowest amount in endorsements, bringing in just $18 million in sponsorship deals.

Check out the list below for a complete breakdown of the data.

  1. Basketball: $341M
  2. Tennis: $298M
  3. Golf: $253M
  4. Soccer: $220M
  5. Football: $115M
  6. Baseball: $32M
  7. Hockey: $18M

MLB Earned $1.2 Billion In Sponsorship Money In 2021-22

Baseball players might not be making a lot of money in endorsement deals but sponsorship income has been on the rise as a whole in Major League Baseball.

A recent report from IEG indicates that the MLB earned a record $1.2 billion in sponsorship deals in 2021-22, up 5.6 percent year-over-year.

While that figure is still lower than the NBA ($1.64 billion) and the NFL ($1.8 billion), it’s not enough to explain the disparity felt amongst the players.

With jersey patches set to be introduced in 2023, experts estimate that sponsorship rights fees for MLB teams could grow by as much as 28 percent next year.

Is The MLB Doing Enough To Market It’s Biggest Stars?

Baseball players often make headlines with high salaries and long-term deals but MLB stars could stand to benefit from being in the spotlight more often.

Shohei Ohtani led all MLB players with 17 endorsement deals in 2022, breaking Aaron Judge’s record of 13 sponsorships from a season ago.

It is estimated that the value of Ohtani’s endorsement deals have reached nearly $20 million, the most of any MLB player.

However, most baseball players haven’t been nearly as successful earning money away from the field.

Bryce Harper, one of the MLB’s biggest stars, earned an estimated $6.5 million last season.

Mike Trout didn’t fare much better, earning an estimated $3 million in endorsement deals.

By comparison, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady made an estimated $52 million off of the field last year, the most of any NFL player.

In the NBA, LeBron James brought home an estimated $75 million in endorsements last season.

While that number is still nearly twice as much as the next-highest player, NBA stars Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, and Giannis Antetokounmpo all made over $40 million in sponsorship money last year.

Nick Raffoul

Shortly after graduating with an Honors in Business Administration, Nick turned his attention from traditional stocks and bonds to investing in the performance of sports teams. He uses a combination of advanced stats and historical data to create sports investment models to identify value and generate consistent profits. Nick's work can also be found at Basketball Insiders, Pistons Powered, The Sports Daily, Winners And Whiners, and more.

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