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Holywood's Rory McIlroy is to become Nike's new brand ambassador


Rory McIlroy is to be unveiled as Nike's new brand ambassador in Abu Dhabi later, making him one of the highest paid sports stars in the world.


The exact detail of the sponsorship may never be revealed, but it has been reported to be  worth around $100m (£62m) to $125m (£77m) over 5 years. That could earn the County Down golfer around $50,000 (£31,000) a day.


Tiger Woods has been Nike's standard-bearer for the last 16 years, but McIlroy will be paid even more.


The numbers are mind-blowing.

Rory is from Holywood, Northern Ireland, but this kind of money is more akin to Hollywood, USA.

Ahead of the the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship this week, McIlroy will sit alongside the Nike golf president, Cindy Davis, at a special media conference in the Fairmont Bab Al Bahr Hotel on Monday afternoon.


It is only then we will hear why the American sports giant has decided to hand the 23-year-old its biggest ever golf contract.

Currently way ahead in golf's world rankings, he is head and shoulders the best player on the planet.

Nike obviously believe Rory is also the most marketable brand in the sport.


The deal will take Rory into the big league alongside the top global earners of last year.

Making up the top 10 are Boxer Floyd Mayweather ($85m), golfers Phil Mickelson ($60m) and Tiger Woods ($56m), tennis player Roger Federer($51.5m), footballers David Beckham ($46m), Lionel Messi ($41.25m) and Cristiano Ronaldo ($40.25m), basketball players Kobe Bryant ($48m) and LeBron James ($45m), and racing driver Fernando Alonso ($40m)

The figures are a combination of salary, bonuses and sponsorship.


McIlroy earned over $13m in prize money last season, and about $12-15m in endorsements and appearance money.

Dollar signs

Continuing at that rate he is now set to propel himself onto the top earners list, and notably will be the youngest, highest paid sports star on it. He doesn't turn 24 until May.

Strange as it may seem, the dollar signs aren't the most important thing for Rory.

As part of a recent BBC NI television documentary, he told me of the "ridiculous" money in golf after he had banked a $3m bonus for finishing runner up in the America Fed Ex Play off series.


He said: "I feel very fortunate to be playing a sport in which the monetary rewards are so high.

"But for me it's not about the money. I have always dreamt of playing golf simply to win big tournaments."

Rory has certainly done that so far with two Major championship successes in his last two years, but no doubt this new mammoth multi-million dollar deal will only add to the pressure to deliver even more.


31g a day  :|

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