Professional baseball players often earn more money through endorsement deals than they do from the time they spend on the field. Companies know that putting a familiar face on their packaging or in their commercials can help them reach more customers and make more sales too. While baseball players usually don’t make as much as basketball players do, some players made millions from endorsement deals with top companies.
According to Ben Burrows, Bryce Harper signed the largest endorsement deal in professional baseball history in 2016. Harper, an outfielder who plays for the Washington, was a number one draft pick and won the National League Rookie of the Year Award. After spending five years working with Under Armor, he signed a contract extension for another 10 years that allows him to design some of his own clothing for the company. Though both parties refused to release the financial details of the deals, it’s reportedly well above the $1 million per year that other players earned through endorsement deals.
It’s almost impossible to think of the New York Yankees without thinking about Alex Rodriguez. As one of the most popular players on the team, fans follow his every movement on and off the field, including the celebrities he dated like Madonna and Jennifer Lopez. While Rodriguez earns quite a bit from the long-term deal he signed with the Yankees, he earns a lot from his endorsement deals too. One of his biggest is a deal he signed with Nike, which nets him a cool $1 million a year.
As the New York Yankees are one of the most popular baseball teams in the world today, it’s not surprising that one of its top players is also one of the highest paid endorsers. Derek Jeter has deals in place with some top companies and lesser known companies too, including Gatorade, Nike, Rawlings and even Avon. Jeter also has deals with companies that make health products and a gym franchise too. Though he remains quiet on how much each of those deals pays, he earns around $9 million a year from his endorsement deals.
As one of the oldest players in Major League Baseball, David Ortiz knows that signing endorsement deals can help him take care of his family in his retirement years. That might be why Ortiz, who won three World Series titles with the Boston Red Sox, had deals in place with three big companies. He stars in ads and endorses products from shoe manufacturer New Balance, Dunkin’ Donuts and Fanatics. Ortiz earns around $5 million a year for his endorsements and has some deals in place that will continue after he retires.
Felix Hernandez has a contract with the Seattle Mariners that will pay him $175 million over seven years that includes a signing bonus for sticking with the team. Though he doesn’t earn quite as much money off the field, he does bring in millions from deals with companies like 2KSports and Pepsi. Lovingly called King Felix by his fans, he saw his popularity increase after pitching a perfect game in 2013, which led to the athlete earning even more money. Reports are that his biggest deal came from Pepsi and that he earns around $1 million a year from the soda company.
Many companies do not target baseball players in the way they do basketball players because they think they can’t market as many products around those players, which is why there aren’t as many high dollar deals. The top endorsement deals in the history of baseball though helped players like Ortiz and Jeter earn millions.