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Pujols’ endorsement earnings grew four-fold last year

Despite the current focus on the money St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols will be making on Major League Baseball diamonds in the future, his earnings off the field have quickly become a major piece of his growing total income pie.

Yet despite a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger season in 2010 and a year-to-year increase in estimated endorsement earnings from $2 million to $8 million*, Pujols fell from fourth to ninth place in the annual professional sports Power 100, released on Friday.

In both years of the list, Pujols has been the highest-ranked baseball player. In 2011, NFL quarterback Peyton Manning unseated golfer Tiger Woods for number one based on a methodology for “power” in athletics developed by, Horrow Sports Ventures, CSE Group and Nielsen/E-Poll N-Score.

How is this calculated? In the words of BusinessWeek:

“…50 percent of the score should reflect “on-field” performance, using existing statistics. The remaining 50 percent is based on “off-field” measurements. The latter comprises a blend of E-Poll’s data and CSE’s estimate of off-field earnings. The new single score—the Nielsen/E-Poll N-Score—is a composite measurement of awareness, trustworthiness, appeal, and influence that’s designed to measure overall popularity and thus best capture a sports personality’s endorsement potential.”

The 50 percent stats score is 80 percent based on the most recent season and 20 percent from the year prior. In the case of baseball players, numbers considered are: Batting Average, Runs, Hits, and Home Runs (for batters) and Wins, Saves, Strikeouts, and ERA (for pitchers).

For the off-field measurement, the 50 percent total is weighted 80 percent on the athlete’s expected endorsement potential and 20 percent on estimated endorsement earnings.

* In their 2010 Power 100, BusinessWeek listed Pujols’ earnings at $18 million. With a $16 million base salary, my assumption is the remaining was his estimated endorsement total, though this was not rendered specific. His key sponsors were Nike, Upper Deck and Pro Performance.

One year later, Pujols’ total earnings are listed as $23.5 million, of which $8 million was directly called out as having been endorsement-based. In other words, in one year, his off-field income has grown from approximately 12 percent of his on-field earnings to 50 percent.

In comparison, Power 100’s top-ranked Manning picked up an estimated $15 million via endorsements last year, more than doubling his salary from the NFL’s small-market Indianapolis Colts.

Manning is currently in negotiations with the Colts on a new contract that is expected to make him the highest-paid player in NFL history and keep him with the franchise for his entire career. Despite an expiring labor agreement between players and owners, both sides seem confident a deal will get done.

Sound familiar?

With Pujols potentially nearing free agency and a new contract that should pay him at least $25 million per year in salary, how much weight will a forecast for an increase in his future endorsements based on his team carry in his decision?

Still, there seems considerable potential for endorsement earnings growth for Pujols no matter where he suits up starting in 2012. After all, Manning has done pretty well for himself despite just one Super Bowl victory in 13 seasons with Indianapolis, hasn’t he?

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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