LeBron James Surpasses Tiger Woods as the Most Valuable Athlete Brand

by October 08, 2014

According to Forbes mag’s Fab 40 ranking of the top brands in sports, LeBron James has the most valuable athlete’s brand on the planet.

LeBron overtakes Tiger Woods, who’d held the title since 2007.

The biggest sports business brand, of course, remains Nike:

The NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers, who have built a powerful brand in the country’s second-largest media market, join the Fab 40 for the first time this year. Since 1980 the Lakers have won 10 NBA championships with stars that are global brands, such as Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant. The team cashed in big time on its success when it started their blockbuster $3.6 billion, 20-year TV deal with Time Warner Cable during the 2012-13 season (only the amount by which the Lakers new cable deal exceeds what the typical big-market NBA team generates from local cable fees is included in the Lakers brand value).


For the first time since 2007 the top athlete brand is not Tiger Woods. This year the top spot belongs to LeBron James, who will be rejoining the Cleveland Cavaliers after fours season and two NBA titles with the Miami Heat. James pulled in $53 million off the court during the past year and his brand is worth $37 million, which is the amount his endorsement and non-basketball earnings exceeded the average of the top 10 off the court earners in the NBA.