The true price of Tiger's rep 

April, 8, 2010
04/08/10
10:53
AM ET

How much is this Masters tournament worth to Tiger Woods?

How about $6 billion?

I know that number might sound crazy, but stay with me. Ten years ago, when Tiger was at his early peak and I was just a pup business writer, The Mag asked me to project his career earnings. I put together the best available numbers for Woods' PGA winnings, worldwide prizes, appearance fees and endorsements, assumed he would dominate golf until he was 30 years old before declining slowly until age 50, then play on the senior tour. All told, I estimated that Woods would make a whopping $6.1 billion during his career.

I didn't adjust Tiger's annual earnings for inflation, taxes or the risk that he might get hurt. Then again, I didn't try to factor in how much he might make from investments, either. That $6.1 billion was just my best stab at a cumulative figure, expressed the same way that golf or tennis or Hollywood talks about any star's lifetime earnings. And behind the number lay key three trends.

Peter Keating is a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine, where he covers investigative and statistical subjects. He started writing "The Biz," a column looking at sports business from the fan's point of view, in 1999. He also coordinates the Magazine's annual "Ultimate Standings" project, which ranks all pro franchises according to how much they give back to fans. His work on concussions in football has earned awards from the Deadline Club, the New York Press Club and the Center for the Study of Sport in Society.

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