*When it comes to lucrative careers, few pay more dividends than being a professional athlete.
Whether it’s on the athletics track, a basketball court or a baseball field, athletes are consistently paid extremely well for their respective sport.
Of course this comes as no surprise – getting to the top requires countless hours of dedication, discipline and practice, and it’s not something that everyone can aspire to.
And it’s these skills that they are ultimately getting paid for, sometimes in cash and but also in endorsement deals.
Big money watch endorsements
At the top of these endorsement lists are luxury watch companies choosing professional athletes to be the ambassador of their brands. This is nothing new, however. These agreements between watchmakers and celebrities go back a long way, and this fame-for-hire has long been – and still is – an important way in which companies advertise luxury goods. A pertinent example of fame and product symbiosis would be when Tag Heuer recently endorsed Tom Brady, Jeremy Lin and Giancarlo Stanton to represent its Connected smartwatch range. It not only adds value to their brand, but it also allows watchmakers to reach a certain type of audience more effectively. When Tag Heuer sponsored Cara Delevingne, for example, their goal was to expose their product to a more youthful consumer.
With that in mind, we’ll take a look at some well-known sportsmen and the sponsors that support them.
Tony Parker – Tissot
Tony Parker, a French professional basketball player who now plays for the San Antonio Spurs, is known for his blazing career on the court, having participated in the NBA championships in 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2014. Parker’s watch of choice is the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar, which reflects the energy and enthusiasm that he brings to the court. Although he is paid as an ambassador for Tissot, he certainly seems to genuinely enjoy the wide selection of watches that the company produces.
Tiger Woods – Rolex
This sportsman hardly needs any introduction. Having been awarded the PGA Player of the Year award eleven times, Tiger Woods has recently returned to the green with a fresh Rolex endorsement in tow. Woods has long been an ambassador of Rolex: starting in 1997, he struck a deal with Tudor under the Rolex umbrella, appearing in ads for the Tudor Prince chronograph models. After signing up on Tag Heuer for a number of years in the early 2000s, Woods broke off the sponsorship in 2011 and returned to Rolex. Nowadays when he’s not being a father or playing golf, he’s diving in the ocean accompanied by his Rolex Deepsea.
Lewis Hamilton – IWC Watches
Drawing from the high-powered cars driven by Formula One drives, IWC Watches recognized the same world-class engineering and performance that goes into Swiss-made timepieces. It’s therefore not surprising for the English driver Lewis Hamilton to be part of the IWC Watches team, having even launched a special edition timepiece that was limited to 250 watches. The material of the watch comprised titanium, carbon and zirconium oxide – the exact same materials that are used in the construction of Forumla One racing cars.
Dwayne Wade – Hublot
Apart from being a three-time NBA champion and the winner of the NBA Finals MVP (Most Valuable Player) Awards, Dwayne Wade is also a massive fund raiser for child support organizations. His mixture of skill, strength and style got him picked up by both Miami Heat and the Chicago Bulls. It’s also the reason why Hublot decided to partner with him. This allowed Wade to join the ranks of other greats sponsored by the Hublot such as Kobe Bryant, José Mourinho and Usain Bolt.