by Gabriel Davila
To the casual viewer it might appear that Olympic athletes make a lot of money, however only a small few do, while many other competitors’ winnings go to the International Olympic Committee.
“For the 2005-08 Quadrennium, revenue from U.S. only broadcast rights netted the IOC over $625 million, annually,” said Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks and current investment shark on ABC’s Shark Tank. “And U.S. based corporate sponsors contributed over $120 million, annually, to the IOC.”
According to the IOC’s Revenue and Distribution sources, 45% of their marketing revenue comes from sponsorships, such as Coca-Cola and Visa. While an additional 47% comes from sponsors that broadcast the Olympic Games on their networks such as NBC. As for tickets and licensing, the two combine just for a total of 8% of the IOC’s revenue.
Although Olympic contestants do not receive money from the IOC directly, they do receive money from other sources. The IOC grants bonuses to gold, silver and bronze medalists.
Gold medals have a $25,000 bonus, silver medals have a bonus of $15,000 and bronze has $10,000.
After the conclusion of the 2008 Olympic Games, Michael Phelps became a national icon, and with all that success came countless sponsorships and endorsement deals. The Post Game reported that by the time the 2012 Olympic Games came around, Phelps’s net worth was $55 million.
Furthermore, Inquistr.com released on their site that Michael Phelps has contracts with Under Armour, Wheaties, Omega and Subway, which actually used cardboard cutouts of Phelps in their locations during and after the 2012 Olympics in London, it is estimated that Phelps makes $12 million per year from these four endorsements alone.
As for the other Olympic athletes, the amount of money received becomes less significant due to their lack of fame. According to CNN, only half of the athletes on the US Track and Field team, who are ranked top 10 in the nation, made more than $15,000 a year from their sport.
“Athletes will complain about the lack of financial control as they train,” Adam Nelson, an American gold medalist shot putter said. “But a lot of them aren’t willing to take that step, and that’s because the Olympics happen once every four years.”