Lewis Hamilton, the Formula One racing driver, is expected to make more than £100m from sponsorship over the next ten years, despite missing out on the Formula One World Championships at the weekend.
Despite finishing in eighth place in the Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday, the 22-year-old’s stellar performance in his first professional year of racing has been credited with raising the profile of Formula One and is expected to make him as big a brand as David Beckham.
Hamilton is now one of sport’s most bankable stars and is able to use his new-found branding power to renegotiate a deal with his Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team that could see him net upwards of £150m over five years.
According to one sports industry insider, Hamilton is likely to be on a contract with McLaren worth only £500,000 in sponsorship and around £350,000 as a driver. It is also likely to limit the endorsements he can take on outside of the team’s list of official sponsors.
His earning potential will now rocket, particularly as Formula One is one of the few global sports with a dearth of competitors under the age of 25. He is one of the few sportsmen who appeals to both genders and is likely to be used to promote brands in the all-important youth market.
Clifford Bloxham, vicepresident of Octagon Athletes & Personalities, a sports marketing and management agency, says: “He’s not just an F1 driver. He’s bigger than the sport now.”
Dominic Curran, director at Karen Earl Sponsorship, says: “He’s easily in the Beckham class and beyond,” and is likely to make at least £100m from sponsorship deals in the coming years.