With all of the rumors, scandalous photos, CGI animated fight scenes and remixes of Tiger Woods’s alleged voicemail message, the golfer still came out on top of Bloomberg BusinessWeek’s 2010 list of the 100 most powerful athletes.
The reason: Woods dominated on the green in 2009, and as a result has become the king of endorsements like few others have. He’s been the face of Accenture, American Express, Nike and Gillette, and the total of those deals made him $92 million last year, according to the magazine. His total earnings for the year came in at $103 million, and Woods was expected to become the first athlete to earn $1 billion in career earnings before the car crash over the Thanksgiving holiday.
BusinessWeek teamed up with CSE, an integrated and entertainment company, plus two media sports fanatics, Rick Horrow of “The $ports Take” and VP of Horrow Sports Ventures Karla Swatek, to crunch the numbers on “who was making the greatest holistic impact on sports.”
They ranked players in accordance to his or her peers in their respective sport over a two-year period, looking at criteria such as money earned and points scored in that time frame, and then adjusted the ranking depending on the popularity of the athlete as well as the sport overall.
The math gets even more complicated with CSE also calculating “off-field” power, which added up total endorsement income plus the opinions of the public on an athlete’s trustworthiness, appeal, influence and awareness. And yes, after all of that, Woods was the clear winner, followed by LeBron James and Phil Mickelson.
Even if the rumors of Woods’s infidelity had arrived earlier in the year, CSE’s data shows that he still would have been the most powerful athlete of the year. Moving forward though, it’s unlikely that Woods will be able to hold on to his position as he loses endorsement deals and his popularity and trustworthiness factors take a nosedive.
Rounding out the top five most powerful athletes were Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals and Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts.