Troubled Tiger still tops Forbes brand list

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By Ben Klayman

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Despite Tiger Woods' problems surrounding his adultery scandal and lost corporate sponsors, the world's No. 1 golfer remains the top athlete brand as ranked by Forbes.

The business magazine estimated in its second annual "Fab 40" list that Woods still represents the top sports brand by athlete, with an estimated value of $82 million.

It said Woods' remaining sponsor deals with Nike Inc, Electronic Arts Inc and Procter & Gamble Co's Gillette brand will allow him to remain the world's highest paid athlete this year.

Woods, who is taking an indefinite break from professional golf, has been in hiding since admitting in December that he had cheated on his wife.

His total was larger than that of the next five athletes combined, according to Forbes. Soccer star David Beckham ($20 million), tennis player Roger Federer ($16 million), NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. ($14 million) and National Basketball Association stars LeBron James and Kobe Bryant ($13 million and $12 million, respectively) rounded out the top six.

While Nike and others have stood by Woods, Accenture Plc and AT&T Inc dropped him as their pitch man after he became engulfed in allegations of multiple extramarital affairs following a minor car accident outside his Florida home on November 27.

Among sporting events, the National Football League's Super Bowl championship game was the leader with an estimated value of $420 million, topping the Summer Olympic Games ($230 million) and the FIFA World Cup ($120 million), the magazine said.

In the business category, Nike at $10.7 billion was the top brand, outpacing Walt Disney Co's ESPN brand ($10.5 billion), Forbes said. Rounding out the top five were Adidas AG, PepsiCo Inc's Gatorade, and Adidas brand Reebok.

Forbes said it ranked athletes based on endorsement income relative to peers in their sport; businesses based on the amount of an enterprise's private market value attributable to its name; teams based on the portion of their overall value not a result of market demographics and league; and events based on revenue generated per day of competition.

(Reporting by Ben Klayman, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)