Mickelson’s Brand Worth More Than Woods’, McIlroy’s

Phil Mickelson had a resurgent year on the golf course in 2016. And despite some off-the-course headlines in the past 12 months, the 46-year-old, five-time major champion is still bringing a lot to the table in terms of brand value. 

Forbes released its “Fab 40: The World’s Most Valuable Sports Brands” list, which ranks the top-10 most valuable sports business brands, sports team brands, athlete brands and sports events brands. Mickelson ranked third in athlete brand value, trailing only Roger Federer and LeBron James, demanding $28 million. 


Here’s how Forbes describes how they measure the value of a brand. 

The Forbes Fab 40 quantifies the value of the top brands in sports. Our brand values do not tell you how much the teams and businesses are worth, how much the top athletes earn, or how much money the biggest sporting events earn. Instead, the Fab 40 measures how much the name of each brand–all by itself–contributes to their value or earnings.

Athlete brand values are the amount by which endorsement income exceeds the average endorsement income earned by the top 10 earning athletes in the same sport during the past year.

Tiger Woods’ brand dropped 23% in the past year, which would have placed him right on par with Mickelson’s $28 million value. 


27-year-old Rory McIlroy was the youngest member of the athlete brand list and the ninth-most valuable, bringing $13 million in name alone, just over an 8% increase from last year.


Here’s the complete top-10 list of the most valuable athlete brands. 

  1. Roger Federer ($36mm)
  2. LeBron James ($34mm)
  3. Phil Mickelson ($28mm)
  4. Usain Bolt ($25mm)
  5. Tiger Woods ($23mm)
  6. Cristiano Ronaldo ($19mm)
  7. Kevin Durant ($16mm)
  8. Lionel Messi ($15mm)
  9. Rory McIlroy ($13mm)
  10. Mahendra Singh Dhoni ($11mm)



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