Jude Bellingham's net worth set to rocket as savvy second income stream will bank England star millions

-Credit: (Image: AP)
-Credit: (Image: AP)


As football has become ever more globalised, and its stars have become brands in their own right, more and more have been setting up companies to manage their image rights.

A number of the current England team have limited companies for their image rights, with the likes of Bukayo Saka having ‘BS7’ and Phil Foden ‘Rondog Sports’.

Joining that list in 2019 was Real Madrid and England star Jude Bellingham, whose powerful header saw the Three Lions open up their Euro 2024 campaign with a hard-fought win over Serbia in Gelsenkirchen on Sunday night.

The incorporation of Bello&Bello Ltd in 2019 came in the same year that the now-20-year-old Bellingham made his debut for Birmingham City as a 16-year-old, soon tipped to see his undeniable talents take him to the very top, something he has achieved via a stop at Borussia Dortmund en route to becoming a Champions League winner with Real Madrid last season.

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Accounts for Bello&Bello, which has Bellingham’s father, Mark, as director and his mother, Denise Bellingham-Waite, as company secretary, were shown to have made a profit of £1.5m in 2023. But why do players have their own companies for image rights?

As players have become brands, in some cases being even stronger and compelling to younger generations that the social pull of the clubs themselves, players and agents have realised the brand value that exists, and how it can be monetised.

When a club signs a player they are not only acquiring a talent to aid their competitive goals, but an asset that the club can use to help generate greater revenues through their marketability. For existing or would-be commercial partners, the ability to have their brands associated with top players is compelling and leads to a willingness to pay higher sums to the clubs themselves.

But it is the player’s image, one related to such things as name, trademark characteristics, squad number, social following, and other areas, and players are now switched on to knowing that they must look after their own interests.

When a club signs a player one of the key agreements to be reached is regarding image rights, and what the club can expect from their player when calling upon them to appear in marketing campaigns for commercial partners. The two parties will attempt to reach as much common ground as possible so that there is little confusion about what is expected of them during a campaign from a commercial perspective. It removes any potential for legal issues.

If a commercial partner wants to use a player for a campaign then the club would have to call upon the player within the confines of the image rights agreement in place and the licence that has been obtained. In creating an image rights company, the player will sell their rights to the company itself and will then receive a fee paid directly to the firm from the club for use of their image rights.

It is also beneficial from a tax perspective, with that money received taxed at a 19% company rate as opposed to it being subject to the 45% tax rate that would be applied to players through the salary received from the club. For some players, such methods work as something of a savings account throughout their careers ahead of taking out funds at a later date for them to invest in other areas in later life.

Bellingham, as one of global football’s hottest tickets and world sport’s most marketable athletes, is likely to only see the value of his image rights increase in the coming years should he continue on his remarkable ascent, something that will be further aided by a stellar turn at the European Championships this summer.