Multi-millionaires' row: Big earners on the sporting rich list

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The Independent Online

THE MAN who has taken the endorsement business to new heights remains head and shoulders above his rivals on the Forbes list. His new line of sports gear has been one of the few highlights of Nike's year, and should push his total past the $100m mark.


LAST YEAR'S No 2 along with Mike Tyson (surely a case of the biter bit) Holyfield, the World Boxing Association and IBF heavyweight champion, will disappear from next year's list after recent inactivity. The big companies tend to fight shy of boxers when it comes to the big-money


A GOOD year for De La Hoya should see him retain his place among the Forbes elite after two big fights, and another to come at the end of this month. New deals with Levi's and phone company MCI should see him pushing on past $50m.


A RECENTLY signed deal with Ferrari worth $150m over four years will keep the former world champion several laps ahead of his nearest European rival. The Schumacher Collection of everything from bathrobes to teacups will help take him close to $50m overall for the year.


PROBLEMS WITH his Nike deal have led the sportswear company to search for a new logo for the Tiger clothes that have been selling poorly, but that has been offset by a major new contract with American breakfast cereal Wheaties. Should remain around the $30m mark.


CATCHER WHOSE move from Los Angeles to New York keeps him involved with two major media markets. His association with the Japanese baseball legend Hideo Nomo also opens up Asian market and this is all added to his $13m a year from the Mets. Number 29 last year, should make top 10 this.


MAY BECOME the first footballer since Roberto Baggio to make the list, thanks largely to Nike and Brazilian law, which ensures that their players get a cut of transfer fees. Will still be a pauper compared to the big boys, but $10m should keep the wolf from his door.


SURPRISINGLY HIGH on last year's list, at 22, Sheffield's World Boxing Organisation featherweight champion will probably drop down next time after just two fights this year at around $2m a throw. Just under 25 per cent of last year's $12m came from endorsements.


The WBC heavyweight champion will fight it out with Hamed for the title of top Brit, after a couple of bouts that were hardly memorable, but still netted Lewis $5m-$6m each. Makes even less than Hamed from his endorsements.


VICTORY AT Suzuka should earn the flying Finn a spot on the list, although he still has a long way to go to beat Schumacher in this race. Not much in the way of endorsements, but will probably be keeping Ronaldo company around the $10m mark, thanks largely to his earnings from McLaren.