5. Manny Pacquiao
Manny Pacquiao was the second highest paid athlete in the world in 2015 according to Forbes, and has a net worth estimated to be $190 million. The eight-division world champion is unlikely to rank quite so highly in 2016 though, having lost his much-anticipated bout with Floyd Mayweather last year, before describing homosexuals as being “worse than animals”. Nike ended their association with the boxer, describing his comments as “abhorrent”, and Pacquiao is currently in the process of replacing Nike’s sponsorship with that of a new sports brand.
4. Barry Bonds
One of the greatest baseball players to ever live, Barry Bonds is a seven-time MVP, 14-time All-Star select and the all time MLB home run record holder. As such, it is not surprise that the former Pittsburgh Steelers and San Francisco Giants star had a number of big-money endorsement deals. However, the Olympic bronze medalist became a major part of the 2007 baseball steroids scandal. He admitted to the accidental use of performance-enhancing drugs in 2004, but was found guilty of obstructing justice.
Bonds served a month under house arrest and retired from the sport the same year. The likes of KFC, MasterCard and Charles Swab all dropped Bonds, who lost an estimated $28 million that year.
3. Mike Tyson
Mike Tyson is the youngest heavyweight world champion of all time, and in his prime, one of the most feared. Iron Mike was renowned for the destruction in his punches in the early part of his career, before hitting self-destruct and seeing his career crumble. The Brooklyn-born big-hitter was never far from controversy, and in 1988 when his ex-wife revealed that Tyson used to abuse her, the fighter was dropped by Pepsi and others, losing deals worth a reported $10 million a year. Tyson had later controversies including being convicted of raping an 18-year-old girl in 1992 and biting off part of Evander Holyfield’s ear in 1997.
2. Lance Armstrong
Lance Armstrong was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1996, only to recover and be cycling again in 1998, before winning a remarkable seven consecutive Tour de France titles. What’s more, the road cyclist then founded the Lance Armstrong (now the Livestrong) Foundation, raising hundreds of million for those affected by cancer. As such, Armstrong was a hero and an inspiration to many, which made his doping scandal more saddening, shocking and personal to a lot of people.
Allegations of Armstrong and other cyclists doping can be traced all the way back to his 1999 Tour de France victory, and the never actually went away, but it was only in 2012 when the USADA said Armstrong had used performance-enhancing drugs that the cyclist could no longer sweep such claims under the carpet. In January 2013 he admitted to doping and was stripped of all post-1998 successes. He lost almost all of his endorsement deals, most notably with the likes of Nike, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Trek Bicycle Corp, FRS and Honey Stinger.
1. Tiger Woods
One of the finest golfers of all time, with a net worth of $700 million, it is unlikely Tiger Woods will run into serious financial trouble anytime soon. However, even that incredible figure could have been a great deal higher had the golfer not been the center of a very public cheating scandal. So marketable and important to his sponsors was Woods that no endorsement deals were lost when it emerged his wife had smashed his car window with a golf club due to him cheating on her.
A month later though, when the true extent of Woods’ infidelity became clear, the endorsement deals began to fall away. Gargantuan deals with the likes of Gillette, Accenture, AT&T, Gatorade and Tag Heuer were all lost, while Woods’ $20 million-a-year deal with Nike was slashed in half for two years. The incident also effected Woods’ golfing career, where he had once seen levels of dominance unparalleled in the history of the sport.