Sports stars who made it big in business

Moving from the sports stadium to the business arena has been a natural transition for many of the world’s top athletes. Here is the scorecard on athletes who were top stars in their sports careers and went on to play in the corporate major leagues.

David Lloyd

One of the United Kingdom’s top tennis players in the 1970s, Lloyd opened his first fitness club in 1982 and grew the David Lloyd Leisure to a chain of 16 clubs by 1995, when he sold the business to Whitbread for £182 million (Dh949.7m).


David Beckham

Brand Beckham is as strong as ever with a five-year pact with British fashion brand Kent & Curwen worth US$8 million annually, plus royalties for the collection being launched in the second half of 2016. The Chinese real estate firm Luneng inked the former England footballer, who earned $65m last year, according to Forbes, to a pact worth more than $5mn a year. Beckham is getting closer to kicking off his MLS football franchise in Miami, for which he paid a heavily discounted $20m, with the team starting play in 2018.

Tim Horton

A chain now synonymous with sickly doughnuts and coffee may not be the most obvious business venture for a former sports star. But Tim Hortons – co-founded in 1964 by the Canadian ice-hockey player Horton, who died 10 years later aged just 44 – has been a runaway success.

LeBron James

The American basketball player LeBron James is among the wealthiest names in sport – and is building a similarly formidable business presence. Aside from his numerous sponsorship deals, James has a marketing agency called LRMR, and a multimedia site called Uninterrupted.

Josh Lewsey

The England Rugby World Cup star Lewsey entered an altogether different field after retiring: finance. In 2009 he joined PricewaterhouseCoopers, before joining Citi as an equities trader. “I’ve heard a lot of people talk about the similarities between trading and performance in sport,” says the sports psychologist Dr Steve Bull. “You’ve got to make quick decisions … You’ve got to be able to manage extreme pressure.”

Venus Williams

The US tennis champion launched her interior design company V Starr Interiors back in 2002. She later launched her own fashion line, EleVen, and in 2009 bought a stake – with her sister, Serena – in the Miami Dolphins NFL franchise.

Adrian Moorhouse

Adrian Moorhouse was a British winner swimming in the 1980s – and after retiring became the managing director of Lane4, a consultancy helping individuals and teams reach their potential.

Maria Sharapova

The Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova spent US$500,000 of her own money setting up her candy company Sugarpova in 2012, and reportedly made a 120 per cent return in the first year.

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