Bolt's earnings, track and field, and a ‘mire’

Media Corner

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

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News that Usain Bolt will make more than £20,000 a second when he returns to London this summer to appear in a Grand Prix meet suggests two things: i) he might solidify his status as the 63rd-highest paid athlete in the world for the 2011-2012 period, according to Forbes, an American business magazine, and ii) but also that projections are good for 2013, assuming he stays healthy. The interesting thing about Bolt's advancing wealth, in comparison to most of the athletes on the list of 100 top earners, is that only US$0.3 million of his reported income of US$23.3 comes from winnings. Also, that less than US$500,000 separates those numbered between 47 and 63 on the list.

What I found interesting about the 2012 list published by Forbes was not so much about Bolt, interesting as that may be, but that the sports star who sits at the top is a US boxer, Floyd "Money" Mayweather, whose income for the period was a whopping US$85 million. The amazing thing is that 100 per cent of that amount came from his winnings. This is unusual as, in previous years, the top earners made most of their earnings from endorsements. However, in 2012 not only did Mayweather come out on top, but the athlete who ranks at two is another boxer, Manny Pacquaio from the Philippines, who reportedly made a total of US$56 million. Listed at number three is golfer Tiger Woods, down from number one, a psoition which he had held from 2001. Tiger's fall-off was predictable given that so many of his sponsors deserted him. However, fortunately for him, Nike remained in his corner. And while his winnings amounted to only US$4.4 million, endorsements from Nike stood at US$55 million — the highest on the list.

Another interesting observation is that while Bolt is listed at 63, his earnings from endorsements are well ahead of not only the two top-rated boxers, but most of the others below the number 10 spot. He levels with Lionel Messi, who comes in 11th with a total earning of US$39 million. This suggests to me that Bolt's business managers are doing a good job. Interestingly, there are only two women on the list. The top-earning female is the seemingly ever-present, Russian-born Maria Sharapova, whose earnings amounted to US$27.9 million, with US$22 million coming by way of endorsements. The only other is China's tennis star Li Na (81st), with a total earning of US$18.4 million. Spain's tennis superstar Rafael Nadal (16th ) who earned US$33.2 million, with US$25.5 from endorsements; and Indian batsman Mahendra Singh Dhoni (31st), US$26.5 million, are the only other athletes in the top 50 who garnered more income from endorsements than Bolt.

It seems only a few short years ago that those of us who followed boxing were amazed by the then seemingly large purses earned by boxers. Muhammad Ali started the ball a-rolling in terms of million-dollar purses. Others like Ray Leonard, Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis continued in that vein. But the earnings from boxing today have jumped substantially with the advent of closed circuit or pay-per-view television. When one considers that Mayweather has made all of his US$85 million from just two contests; Victor Ortiz, US$40 million; and Miguel Cotto, US$45 million, then the picture is even more dramatic. The total earnings of the athletes on the list are derived from their bonuses, salaries, appearance fees, prize money, endorsements, and licensing from June 2011 to June 2012.

The mega earnings from close-circuit boxing in the United States suggest to me that the TVJ Contender' Series, in conjunction with the Jamaican Boxing Federation, may be on to a good thing. We can hope.


Jamaican athletes have been reaping some good rewards on the global circuit in recent weeks. Our athletes covered themselves in glory at the 119th Penn Relays, rounded off with the selection of Calabar's Jevon Francis as the Penn Relays High School Boy (relay team) Athlete of the Meet. I most enjoyed the emphatic victory of our 4x100 women's relay team, in which we reversed the finishing order by leading home the US team. The post-race reaction of sprinter Carmelita Jeter (sidelined by injury) was telling, an indication of how much the US wanted that race. Although the US could claim that their team was weakened by the absence of Jeter, so too could the Jamaicans without Veronica Campbell-Brown — a factor that could not have been lost on the Americans. The other factor of significance to me was the running of former national 100-metre champion Kerron Stewart, whose handling of Allison Felix on the 2nd leg suggests that she is on her way back to form. That must have been another ominous sign for all challengers.

Cornwall Regional Hospital

While I am a little bit sceptical about the renaming of many of our public institutions, especially when they already have nice names like the Cornwall Regional Hospital, this is one time when I have to agree with the former Prime Minister Bruce Golding. Mr Golding said it best. "CRH is not a local government institution, and the council has no authority to rename or prevent the renaming of the institution."

I do recall the many delays and criticisms in which the reopening of that hospital was embroiled. It sat as a white elephant for many months before its opening, and reportedly costa great deal more than initially estimated before it could be opened. But open it did, not long after Dr Ken McNeill assumed the portfolio of minister of health. I recall that his predecessor, Dr Herbert Eldemire, was graciously invited to participate in the formal opening procedures as was the correct thing to do. To the best of my recollections, Dr Eldemire's name is more closely related to the establishment of that hospital than any other. Hence from my perspective, if it is to be renamed at all, I can't see anyone more deserving of such an honour, especially when one ties to the late minister's contribution that of his daughter, Denise, who herself has proven to be one of the pillars of our national health care programme. There is no need for this controversy which is merely another unnecessary embarrassment to this Government.

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