Woods still top athlete name brand

Updated: February 5, 2010, 8:22 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

CHICAGO -- Despite Tiger Woods' problems surrounding his adultery scandal and lost corporate sponsors, the world's No. 1 golfer remains the top athlete brand as ranked by Forbes.

The business magazine estimated in its second annual "Fab 40" list that Woods still represents the top sports brand by an athlete, with an estimated value of $82 million.

The report said Woods' remaining sponsor deals with Nike, Electronic Arts and Procter & Gamble's Gillette brand will allow him to remain the world's highest-paid athlete this year.

Woods, who is taking an indefinite break from professional golf, has remained out of the public eye since admitting in December that he had cheated on his wife, Elin.

In mid-January, Benoit Denizet-Lewis, author of a book titled "America Anonymous: Eight Addicts in Search of a Life" and himself a recovering sex addict, wrote on his personal blog that Woods was receiving treatment at a sex rehab clinic in Mississippi. On Friday, RadarOnline.com reported that Woods left the clinic and that Elin was in Hattiesburg to fly home with him.

Woods' total value was larger than that of the next five athletes combined, according to Forbes. Soccer star David Beckham ($20 million), tennis player Roger Federer ($16 million), NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. ($14 million) and NBA stars LeBron James and Kobe Bryant ($13 million and $12 million, respectively) round out the top six.

Although Nike and others have stood by Woods, Accenture Plc and AT&T dropped him as their pitch man after he became engulfed in allegations of multiple extramarital affairs following a minor car accident outside his Florida home on Nov. 27.

The most valuable team brand is English soccer club Manchester United, worth an estimated $270 million, just ahead of Major League Baseball's New York Yankees at $266 million, Forbes said.

Among sporting events, the NFL's Super Bowl championship game was the leader with an estimated value of $420 million, topping the Summer Olympic Games ($230 million) and the FIFA World Cup ($120 million), the magazine said.

Forbes said it ranked athletes based on endorsement income relative to peers in their sport; businesses based on the amount of an enterprise's private market value attributable to its name; teams based on the portion of their overall value not a result of market demographics and league; and events based on revenue generated per day of competition.

Information from Reuters was used in this report.