If You’re Following These Athletes On Twitter You’re Getting Scammed—Athletes Getting Paid Up To $304K Per Tweet

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The highest paid athlete (Twitter endorser) in the world gets paid an estimated $303.9K per sponsored tweet, and has 34.1M Twitter followers. When broken down that’s a paltry amount that he’s getting paid per follower, but the fact of the matter remains: the world’s top athletes are getting paid ungodly sums of money to send out tweets that you think are genuine.

The site Opendorse tracks the world’s top ‘endorsing’ athletes, or those that get paid the most from endorsements. Part of what they track is how much the various athletes get paid for sponsored tweets. And while Tiger Woods was the #1 ranked athlete in 2014 for endorsement earnings (with an estimated $55,000,000) he only pulled in $12.6K per sponsored tweet. Let’s compare that with these top 5 Twitter earners:

Cristiano Ronaldo was the #1 Twitter earner netting a ridiculous $304,000 per sponsored tweet ($28M in total endorsements). As you can see from his timeline he actually sends out a shitton of sponsored tweets, and is currently pumping ‘Sportlobster’ as his sponsor du jour.

He’s not the only athlete that’s scamming his followers for clicks and making a shitton of money by pushing his own agenda. Here’s the ten athletes who pulled in the most OVERALL in 2014, and not just from Twitter (according to Opendorse):

10. Usian Bolt | Racers Track Club
2014 Endorsement Earnings: $23M
opendorse Value: $12.1k per tweet
Current Endorsements: Puma, Gatorade, Hublot, Nissan

9. Lionel Messi | La Liga | Futball Club Barcelona
2014 Endorsement Earnings: $43M
opendorse Value: not on Twitter
Current Endorsements: adidas, PepsiCo, EA Sports, Turkish Airlines, Gillettee

8. Mahendra Singh Dhoni | ODI | India
2014 Endorsement Earnings: $26M
opendorse Value: 11.2k per tweet
Current Endorsements: Pepsi, Reebok

7. Christiano Ronaldo | La Riga | Real Madrid
2014 Endorsement Earnings: $28M
opendorse Value: $303.9k per tweet
Current Endorsements: Nike, Toyota, Samsung, Tag Heuer, Herbalife, Emirates

6. Rafael Nadal |ATP
2014 Endorsement Earning: $30M
opendorse Value: 26k per tweet
Current Endorsements: Nike, Kia, Babolat

5. Kobe Bryant | NBA | Los Angeles Lakers
2014 Endorsement Earnings: $32M
opendorse Value: $22.3k per tweet
Current Endorsements: Nike, Panini, Lenovo, Turkish Airlines

4. Phil Mickelson | PGA Tour
2014 Endorsement Earnings: $48M
opendorse Value: not on Twitter
Current Endorsements: Callaway, KPMG, Rolex, ExxonMobil, Amgen, Barclays

3. Roger Federer | ATP
2014 Endorsement Earnings: $52M
opendorse Value: $8.9k per tweet
Current Endorsements: Rolex, Credit Suisse, Wilson, Gillette, Nike, Mercedes-Benz

2. LeBron James | NBA | Cleveland Cavaliers
2014 Endorsement Earnings: $53M
opendorse Value: $126.2k per tweet
Current Endorsements: Nike, Upper Deck, McDonald’s, Samsung, Dunkin’ Brands, Coco-Cola, Beats by Dre

1. Tiger Woods | PGA Tour
2014 Endorsement Earnings: $55M
opendorse Value: $12.6k per tweet
Current Endorsements: Nike, Rolex, Upper Deck, NetJet

Some other highlights from the Opendorse findings include Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia brining in a whopping $1.40 per sponsored tweet. That one dollar and forty cents per tweet ($1.2M overall in endorsements).

Matthew Stafford, Joe Mauer, Wladmir Klitschko, Sidney Crosby, Eli Manning, Derek Jeter, Adam Scott, Peyton Manning, Lionel Messing, and a bunch of other soccer players all cracked the top 60 endorsement earning athletes in 2014 WITHOUT even being on Twitter. So in order to make a metric fuckton of money you’re not required to sell your soul on Twitter (though it doesn’t hurt).

The fact of the matter is this: by following these athletes on Twitter you’re agreeing to a social contract to read and click whatever they choose to send you. But when they’re already getting paid millions upon millions in salary, I don’t think it’s outrageous to assume that they wouldn’t need to shove sponsored content down our throats 24/7 as well (I’m looking at you Cristiano!). The flip side of that is that these athletes only have a very short window in their career (compared with a person who doesn’t profit off their body) in which to make their fortune, so they need to squeeze pennies where they can.

[Darren Rovell via Opendorse]