McIlroy earnings to soar
Rory McIlroy could easily become the highest-earning UK sportsman of all time.
Last Updated: 20/06/11 5:28pm
Rory McIlroy could easily become the highest-earning UK sportsman of all time, experts believe.
The Northern Irishman's stunning US Open success last night has catapulted him into a different league in terms of global commercial potential.
The combination of the 22-year-old's talent, youthfulness and personality possibly gives him the earning power of the world's biggest sporting superstars.
Nigel Currie, director of sports marketing agency Brand Rapport, said: "He has the potential to do what Roger Federer, Michael Schumacher and Tiger Woods have done.
"Golf, motor racing, boxing and tennis are the big-earning sports.
"If he was to dominate golf, like he could do, for a number of years, he could get up towards the one billion-dollar mark.
"Lennox Lewis and David Beckham are the highest-earning sports stars from the UK so far, but McIlroy could easily pass them."
He added: "He is so young and a precocious talent. The youthfulness gives him a unique factor and he comes across very well.
"He has put himself right in pole position and the next stepping stone is to establish himself as number one for a period of a few years."
McIlroy dominated all four days of the US Open at Congressional, eventually winning by eight shots to become the youngest winner of the tournament since 1923.
He broke a number of records along the way including recording the lowest totals after 36, 54 and 72 holes of the US Open.
He finished with a 16-under-par total of 268, four better than the previous best mark.
His success evoked memories of when Woods won the US Masters at the age of 21 in 1997.
Steve Martin, chief executive of M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment, said: "Over the next 10 years he is going to be the £100million man - not dollars, pounds. It is that scary.
"He's probably at the £5million-a-year mark anyway because of his contracts with the likes of Titleist, Jumeriah, Oakley and others.
"But there are few sportsmen with the potential to transcend the sport.
"Up until last night Rory McIlroy was always an amazing young golfer.
"Now he is an amazing superstar sportsman and the potential to double his earnings is very, very realistic.
"His appeal is unusual because he is so young, he has broken all those records and Irishmen in America go down very well.
"He has got everything in his locker - youth, he handles everything well, he smiles, he is engaging to listen to and he is incredibly aspirational for young kids."
McIlroy has certainly made a huge impact in the United States as a result of his performance.
The youngster squandered a four-stroke lead on the final day of the Masters in April and his response has proved captivating.
Martin added: "He has an incredible mental strength and has shown he is not a quitter. He really has the full package.
"There have been some disparaging comments in the US about Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer and even Luke Donald being world number one.
"But it is totally different how they are speaking about McIlroy.
"The US audience is incredibly hard to crack and they are almost treating him as their own."