Michael Jordan was the overwhelming choice of business and advertising executives asked to name the top sports endorser of the 20th century.
Jordan got four times as many votes as golfer Tiger Woods, earning $69 million annually from endorsements with companies such as Nike and McDonald’s, according to Forbes magazine.
“Michael Jordan is the premier athlete in commanding long-term endorsement contracts with elite companies, due to his monumental impact on the advertising world,” said Bob Williams, president of Burns Sports.
Golfer Arnold Palmer finished third.
Jordan won’t repeat as the top endorser of the century, Williams said. In another poll conducted by Burns--asking business executives to pick the No. 1 sports endorser of the next century--Woods beat out Jordan by a three-to-one margin.
Woods, who won $6.61 million in prize money after a record-setting year on tour, also will earn almost $27 million from agreements with companies such as Nike, American Express and General Mills’ Wheaties, Forbes said.
“With an amazing run to end the century, Tiger is positioned to succeed Michael as the top sports endorser worldwide,” Williams said.
Finishing fourth among the 20th century’s top endorsers was boxing great Muhammad Ali. Babe Ruth, Bruce Jenner, Jeff Gordon, Jack Nicklaus, Bo Jackson and Mia Hamm completed the top 10.
For the 21st century poll, Indianapolis Colt quarterback Peyton Manning was third, followed by Seattle Mariner all-star center fielder Ken Griffey Jr. and Gordon.