LONDON, (Reuters) – Olympic sprint champion Usain Bolt will earn an estimated $10 million a year in a sponsorship deal with German sportswear company Puma that will take him to the end of his career.
The Jamaican, the highest earner in his sport, will remain with Puma until after the 2016 Olympics when he will seek to add to his six gold medals.
Bolt, 27, signed up with Puma as a teenager a decade ago and the renewal of the contract is a fillip for a brand struggling to keep pace with larger rivals Adidas and Nike.
Bolt will be paid $10 million for each of the next three seasons and the same amount if he competes again in 2017 when London hosts the world championships, an industry source said.
Once he retires from competition, he will be paid $4 million per year to act as a Puma ambassador, the source added.
Forbes estimated that Bolt was paid $9 million annually under his current deal that expires at the end of the year.
“I have always been very happy to be a part of the Puma family, I am proud to represent them and delighted to continue with them for the years ahead,” Bolt said in a statement.
BOLT STANDS ALONE
New Puma CEO Bjorn Gulden, who took the job in July, had made the renewal one of his initial priorities after the company said it was ending its sponsorship of the Oracle Americas Cup sailing team and European rugby union.
Gulden called Bolt a perfect ambassador for Puma.
“He will play a crucial role in our future product concepts as well as brand communications leading towards the Olympic Games in Rio 2016 and beyond,” Gulden said.
Bolt is world record holder over both the 100 and 200 metres and his performances and charisma make him the stand-out performer in a sport that struggles to maintain a high media profile beyond the Olympics.