Lionel Messi’s transfer to Paris Saint-Germain from Barcelona is arguably the biggest news in the world of sports. Many football pundits did not expect the Argentine to make a switch to the French League although two years ago, Messi signaled his intention to leave Spain.
At the time, many had speculated that he could make a move to the English Premier League by joining Manchester City and also reuniting with his former boss Pep Guardiola. There were also reports that he would make a big-money switch to the Major Soccer League.
In the end, the six-time Ballon d’Or winner signed a two-year contract with PSG with an option for a third, reportedly worth £25m ($34m) per year after tax, plus bonuses. Also, the Argentine received £25m as a signing-on fee.
However, one of the biggest gainers of Messi’s transfer to PSG is NBA legend Michel Jordan. The billionaire entrepreneur has reportedly made $7 million from Messi’s transfer to PSG.
According to Argentinian media outlet TyC Sports, Nike’s Jordan sub-brand has had a partnership deal with PSG since 2018 and Jordan earns a 5% cut of shirt sales. Following the arrival of Messi, PSG has seen a massive rise in sales of replica jerseys, particularly Messi’s.
The Business Insider reports that an adult jersey with the name of Messi printed on the back of the jersey sells for $162. And according to TyC Sports, PSG has so far made $140 million in sales of the shirts since Messi arrived. For each jersey sold, Jordan makes 5% of the sale of a shirt.
Nike’s deal with Jordan, which was first signed in the mid-1980s, boosted his rise to billionaire status. The 36-year partnership with Nike has earned Jordan $1.3 billion and counting, according to Forbes. It is the richest athlete endorsement deal ever but also arguably the biggest bargain due to the fact that Jordan helped Nike move from a relatively unknown brand to one of the most valuable in the world today, Forbes said.
Nike first offered Jordan a base pay of $500,000 per year, triple any other NBA sneaker deal, according to Forbes. The first Air Jordan sneaker was an instant hit, racking up $100 million in sales in the first 12 months.
As the Jordan brand got bigger, so was his paycheck. In 2020, Jordan reportedly made $130 million from Nike, which Forbes estimates were four times bigger than what LeBron James earned. James currently has the biggest shoe deal among active NBA players.