Bolt outside Forbes' top 50, but worth US$6m

Bolt outside Forbes' top 50, but worth US$6m

... J'can star said to be worth US$6m

BY HOWARD WALKER Observer Senior Reporter

Friday, April 27, 2012

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DESPITE being the world's fastest man and clearly the dominant face of track and field for years, Usain Bolt has not been able to break into Forbes Magazine's' top 50 richest sports persons, revealed his publicist, Carole Beckford.

"When you look at the list, it has 18 basketballers, eight from baseball, seven racing, six footballers, four from golf, tennis and American football has six and one boxing," noted Beckford, who the guest speaker at a Rotary Club of Kingston's meeting at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel yesterday.

Bolt, according to The Richest People website, is said to have an estimated net worth of US$6m (J$522m).

Last June, German sportswear Puma, renewed its sponsorship deal with Bolt until 2013, saying that it was the largest ever given to a track and field athlete.

Although the figure was not revealed, a number of reports suggested it was comparable to Nike's four-year US$32m deal with football star Cristiano Ronaldo.

Bolt, who was last month named in the top 10 of the most dominant figures in the history of sports by, lags way behind other sporting personalities.

Golfer Tiger Woods heads the well-respected Forbes list with a valued estimation of US$105m ahead of boxer Floyd Mayweather with US$65m and basketballer Kobe Bryant at US$48m. Another golfer, Phil Mickelson, is next with (US$46m), followed by footballer David Beckham (US$43.7m) and lawn tennis great Roger Federer ((US$43m) completing the top six.

"When you look at the sports he has to compete with or the athletes, you match air time and TV is big," reasoned Beckford.

She added: "Also on the world stage, the top 10 most watched sports is football, cricket, field hockey, ice hockey and tennis. Track and field is way too seasonal to demand that air time.

"Track and field is still dogged by the fact that it has a drug scandal issue and when it matches with airtime on some of the high marketing points, it doesn't match up well with the competitive sports," said Beckford.

"The contracted season that runs from May to August and extend to September in some years is not enough to match TV time frame or media output, unless you're an exciting personality that demands all-year coverage," she noted.

Beckford, who is president of the Business of Sports, has been advocating for some time now for Jamaica to tap into the billion-dollar sports tourism industry.

"On the world standpoint, Jamaica has to figure out a way to get more involved in sports like basketball, baseball and football," Beckford pleaded.

"However, Jamaica's dominance in track and field can be better leveraged if we coordinate... into more of a marketing point... a policy or a framework... that looks at Jamaica's top sports and how we can leverage... to gain more from it," she pointed out.

Beckford will have another series on the Business of Sports scheduled for May 3-5 at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel.

The two-day event, in its second year has attracted veteran NFL commentator and journalist Steve Wyche; track and field expert Ato Bodon; financial manager Horace Madison and sports channel ESPN's vice president Bernard Stewart, among others as speakers.

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