SBJ/November 10 - 16, 2003/International

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  • In Britain, nobody banks it like Beckham

    The British, even more than Americans, show a special fascination for how much money famous people earn, and more than ever the public's prying eyes are seeing soccer stars.

    Of the top 500 annual earners in Britain, more than 10 percent come from soccer, according to the new Sunday Times Pay List, which has become the final arbiter on the subject. The papers' researchers use both public records and private sources to come up with their figures.

    No fewer than 56 people on the list, published Nov. 2, make their living from soccer: 44 players, seven managers, three executives and one chairman — plus one agent.


    The top earner is David Beckham, formerly of Manchester United and now playing for Real Madrid, with earnings of $34.64 million for this year — one third more than the previous year. It is the first time Beckham has topped the sports names on the list,

    replacing boxer Lennox Lewis, who dropped into third place with $15.21 million. Lewis had topped the list for three consecutive years.

    No. 2, also from soccer, is a special case this time:

    Ken Bates, who sold Chelsea during the summer and remains on the board, with most of his $29.58 million being the capital gain from the transaction.

    Beckham, captain of England's national team, is paid $7.9 million a year by Real Madrid but makes most of his income from endorsement deals with Adidas, Vodafone, Pepsi and others.

    He earns more than twice as much as the second-highest-paid player, Michael Owen of Liverpool, who makes $12.68 million and is fourth among all sports people.

    No. 5 overall is David Coulthard from the McLaren Mercedes team in Formula One, charting at $10.14 million.

    Motorsports performers ruled the list of top sports earners outside soccer, accounting for six of the top 10 places. They included World Rally Championships drivers Colin McRae ($8.45 million) and Richard Burns ($6.76 million), F1 driver Jenson Button of BAR Honda ($5.41 million) and F1 team boss Frank Williams ($4.39 million). Dario Franchitti, by virtue of his Scottish nationality, is also on the list ($6.76 million), even though he plies his trade across the pond in CART.

    The rest of the non-soccer top 10 includes golfers Darren Clarke ($4.97 million) and Colin Montgomerie ($4.73 million) and tennis player Tim Henman ($4.39 million). Distance runner Paula Radcliffe was the top female, 11th place on the non-soccer list.

    The list of soccer players includes 18 Englishmen. There are eight French players and five Dutch. Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Sweden have two each, while Spain, Argentina, Australia, Norway, and Trinidad and Tobago each have one. Manchester United has 11 players on the list, the most of any team.

    The club's manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, is also on the list ($6.34 million), as is its former chief executive, Peter Kenyon ($6.37 million), who moved to Chelsea in September.

    Jay Stuart is editorial director of SporTVision magazine and Sport TV Report newsletter.

    Print | Tags: Adidas, Boxing, Formula One, Golf, Motorsports, PepsiCo, Soccer
  • Title sponsors of 2 horse races bolt

    Two of Britain's big horse races are losing their title sponsors. Martell Cognac is ending sponsorship of the Grand National at Aintree in Liverpool after the 2004 running. The company has decided to move on after sponsoring Britain's biggest race for 13 years. Martell is putting up slightly more than $1 million in prize money annually for the event and spending the same again on related marketing. Also, interactive television betting company Attheraces said it will drop sponsorship of the Gold Cup at Sandown is suburban London. Attheraces spent more than $800,000 on a two-year deal with the course, which is looking for a replacement for next April's event, known as the Whitbread Gold Cup before Attheraces bought the name.

    ROMAN DOLDRUMS: The two Rome teams are financially in the worst shape among Italy's top soccer clubs, according to figures published in Gazzetta dello Sport. Roma, with a loss of $120 million in 2003, and Lazio, showing a loss of $140 million, were by far the weakest performers of the six most notable teams. Roma suffered the worst turnaround, thanks to a huge drop in net player sales, going from a net profit of $1.14 million in 2002 to its loss this year.

    EXPENSIVE DELAY: A German court has rejected French soccer player Youri Djorkaeff's claim for back pay from a German club because he waited too long to file. The German court said the former French national team player should not receive the $473,000 he was seeking from Kaiserslautern because he failed to file his claim within three months of leaving his employer, as required by law. Djorkaeff, who now plays for Bolton in England's Premier League, was with Kaiserslautern from 1999 to mid-season 2002. His claim was submitted 10 months later. Under German law, Djorkaeff will now foot the bill for all legal fees after losing the case.

    SWITCHING BIKES: The World Superbike series is losing another champion to the MotoGP. Neil Hodgson, who dominated the Superbike season aboard a Ducati cycle, is joining a Ducati team in MotoGP. Superbikes are international motorcycling's equivalent of stock cars, while MotoGP is the equivalent of Formula One. Hodgson raced in the MotoGP series (when it was called the Road Racing Grand Prix) until 1995. He follows former Superbike champions Colin Edwards and Troy Bayliss, who have moved to MotoGP. Both the Superbike and MotoGP series are sanctioned by the International Motorcycling Federation. Octagon bought the Superbike series in 1998 but sold it back to Italian company Flammini Group, the original owner, in May. MotoGP is controlled by Spanish group Dorna.

    — Jay Stuart

    Print | Tags: English Premier League, Horse Racing, Soccer
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