Did You Know the First Professional Athlete to Earn a $1 Million Endorsement Deal Was...?

Compensation Data Facts - What's What in Compensation



History of compensation... In 1964, bowling legend Don Carter did something that no one in baseball, football or golf ever did: He became the first athlete in American sports history to sign a $1 million marketing endorsement contract, with bowling ball manufacturer Ebonite.

As early as 1959, Carter was grossing more than $100,000 a year through tournaments and endorsements for products such as Miller Lite, Palmolive Rapid Shave and Wonder Bread. Responsible for bringing the sport of bowling to television, he was a pioneer of marketing who outpaced his contemporaries in the sports world. Four years after his record-breaking endorsement deal, Super Bowl quarterback "Broadway" Joe Namath famously shaved off his moustache with a Schick razor for a mere $10,000. It took another 7 years for a professional athlete to land a $1 million endorsement deal.

More tomorrow...

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