Seven-figure contracts sometimes fail to satisfy those competitive enough to thrive in professional sports. With so many endorsements, investments, and opportunities at their disposal, great athletes almost invariably go from wearing uniforms to wearing suits. But not all of them succeed. (Just ask Phillies great Lenny Dykstra about serving time for bankruptcy fraud.) The ones that prosper are intensely protective of their personal brands and willing to trade on their fame. They also tend to be the ones who don't mind taking a bit of coaching from research analysts and accountants.
Here are the legendary athletes who've equalled their sports success with success in the board room. It is an elite club within an elite club.
At 84, Palmer has a net worth of around $675 million. His endorsements include Callaway, Ketel One, and Rolex. The Arnold Palmer Design Company has created hundreds of golf courses and Palmer himself owns Latrobe Country Club in his Pennsylvania hometown and Bay Hill Club and Lodge in Orlando. There's also Arnold Palmer Motors, Arnold Palmer's Restaurant, Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, and Arnold Palmer Prostate Center.
Palmer credits his success to a strategy he developed with Mark McCormack, his agent and business partner. Unlike other athletes, Palmer avoided endorsements based on recent on-course triumphs because he knew that he would eventually start losing and he wanted to have a more sustainable career. McCormack dealt exclusively with companies interested in Palmer's personality and lifestyle. He embodied the idea of being a winner by not talking about winning.
"He was the first golfer the American public truly cared about," Thomas Hauser wrote in the preface to 'Arnold Palmer: A Personal Journey.' And Arnie was never bashful about parlaying his fame into profits or putting his name on a product. That said, he doesn't receive royalties when you mix lemonade and ice tea.
Estimated Net Worth: $675 million
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