Every year, Forbes puts together their annual listing of the most valuable sports brands in the world. For the first time in nearly a decade, Tiger Woods is no longer sitting atop the list, as King James takes his rightful spot on the throne.
In terms of ranking athletes as "brands", LeBron now takes over the top spot in the world for the first time since 2007. This listing shouldn't be confused with the endorsement earning list, but instead Forbes took the earnings and data, and used them to quantify how much each athlete brand is worth. With endorsements from Nike, McDonalds, Samsung, and State Farm to name a few, LeBron's revenue off the court trumps what he earns through the Cleveland Cavaliers. Forbes estimates that LeBron's name is worth roughly $37 million, which is $10 million more then his earnings in 2013.
Part of this has to do with Nike's dominance in the sports apparel world, which has an estimated value of $19 billion. LeBron also saw his value increase with other off the court ventures including his recent purchase of a stake in Liverpool F.C, and his small stake in Beats By Dre, which was recently sold to Apple for $2.6 billion.
Although Tiger saw some of his endorsements terminated following the controversy with his wife, Woods still stands tall at #2 on the list with an estimated value of $36 million, which fell from $46 million in 2013. Rounding out the rest of the top five is Roger Federer at $32 million, Phil Mickelson at $29 million, and cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni coming in at $20 million.
All eyes are back on LeBron (not that they ever left), with his return to Cleveland, so seeing him at the top of the list is no big surprise. Keep an eye on fellow Nike endorser Kevin Durant going forward for the list, as he recently signed an extension with the Swoosh in excess of $300 million, and is scheduled for a major pay day from the NBA when he becomes a free agent in 2016.