Maria Sharapova & 6 Other Pro Athletes Who Blew Big Endorsement Deals Overnight

Image courtesy of NikeWomen on YouTube

All over the world, sports fans set their heroes up on high pedestals. So when scandals hit, it’s a long way for professional athletes to fall, and they often lose lucrative endorsement deals on their way down.

After admitting that she’d tested positive for a banned substance at the Australian Open in January, Maria Sharapova is in the blown-endorsement deal spotlight with the news that Nike, TAG Heuer, and Porsche are distancing themselves from the tennis star.

Nike said it was “saddened and surprised” at Sharapova’s admission she’d been taking meldonium since 2006 on the advice of her family doctor, and will be suspending her contract, BBC News reports.

Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer won’t be renewing its contract with the tennis star, which ended Dec. 31, 2015.

“In view of the current situation, the Swiss watch brand has suspended negotiations and has decided not to renew the contract,” the company said in a statement via USA Today.

German carmaker Porsche says it’s “postponing planned activities” with Sharapova until the situation becomes clearer.

But Sharapova is just the latest sports star to see juicy contracts walk out the door in the midst of trouble.

1. Mike Tyson:

Amid allegations from his ex-wife Robin Givens in 1988 that he abused her, Mike Tyson waved goodbye to millions of dollars in endorsement money from Pepsi. Also on Tyson’s list of lost contracts: Eastman Kodak and Nintendo.

2. Barry Bonds

Amid the steroid scandal involving the San Francisco Giants outfielder in 2007, companies like MasterCard, KFC, and Charles Schwab cut ties with Bond. Sports Illustrated reported at the time that he lost an estimated $28 million in contracts all told.

3. Tiger Woods

When Tiger Woods crashed and burned amid his spousal cheating scandal in 2009, Gillette, Accenture, AT&T, Gatorade, and Tag Heuer cut off ties with the PGA star, while Nike hung on for the ride. The Associated Press estimated in 2010 that he lost about $22 million worth of endorsement deals in a year as a result.

4. Michael Vick

Soon after the world heard accusations that Michael Vick was hosting illegal dogfighting rings, sponsorships started falling away. Nike cut Vick two days after the then-Atlanta Falcons quarter back was indicted, while Reebok, Rawlings, Donruss, Upper Deck, and AirTran Airways all gave him the boot as well.

5. Lance Armstrong

In one day, Lance Armstrong lost eight sponsors amid doping allegations. Nike was the first to announce it’d be ditching Armstrong after the release of an in-depth report from the U.S. Anti-Doping agency, with others like Trek, Easton-Bell Sports, 24 Hour Fitness, Honey Stinger, and Anheuser-Busch, RadioShack, FRS, and Oakley eventually announcing they’d either be cutting ties immediately or not renewing contracts in the future, Business Insider reported, for an estimated loss of $15 million to $18 million a year.

6. Oscar Pistorius

When South African running star Oscar Pistorius was accused of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in 2013, many big name companies dropped endorsement deals with him. Nike led the charge, followed by Oakley and Thierry Mugler, which had featured him as the face of a men’s fragrance.

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