Holywood, Co Down golfer Rory McIlroy (25) is by far Ireland’s wealthiest sports star. His on-course earnings passed €33.4m earlier this year. But sport is weird and the real stars make far more off course through endorsement and sponsorships rather than from actually winning stuff.
In early 2013, having won two Majors, McIlroy signed the biggest deal in history, linking up with Nike in a €190m 10-year deal. And then things got messy.
A bitter lawsuit with management team Horizon saw him agree to pay a reputed €22m settlement in February 2015, drastically reducing his gains for the year. He also signed significant deals with Bose, the audio equipment company, and Omega, the luxury Swiss watch manufacturers.
Forbes estimates that he earned €21.23m last year making him the 35th highest paid sportsman in the world. Outside golf, he made decent wedge when a stake in Sunseeker yachts paid off as a Chinese group bought the firm for €350m. He has also put money into tax-driven property investments in the UK, backing a hotel deal in Birmingham and a docklands development scheme in Liverpool. McIlroy owns a $10.9m beach side mansion in Florida.