Branding the World of Sports

Does Scott Boras hurt his clients endorsements?

Posted by ZA on August 24, 2009

A thought occurred to me as I watched the recent Stephen Strasburg contract negotiations with the Washington Nationals; does Scott Boras’ hard negotiating style hurt his players endorsement opportunities?  Boras is known as a super tough negotiator who has even been called the “most evil man in baseball”.  This is not a reputation unfairly bestowed upon Boras, he has known throughout baseball circles for his abrasive negotiating style.  Teams like the Nationals clearly do not relish dealing with Boras because he always demands huge contracts for his clients.  With Strasburg, the #1 pick in the 2009 amateur baseball draft, Boras was initially seeking an “absurd” contract that would rewrite the MLB draft record books.  The Nationals and Boras finally hammered out a not quite absurd, but still record deal at the 11th hour.  That deal happened after months of tense negotiations that clearly did not endear the Nationals executives to Boras.

Which makes me wonder; is Boras an equally tough negotiator when it comes to endorsement deals?  Do corporations like Nike and Pepsico try to avoid dealing with Boras clients because for fear they will be raked over the coals during the negotiations?  Strasburg has been called a once in a generation prospect, but has yet to sign any endorsement contracts.  Other Boras clients are some of the biggest names in Major League Baseball (Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramierez, Prince Fielder) but seem to lack the mainstream endorsement deals of their peers in the game (e.g.- Ryan Howard for Subway, Derek Jeter for Gatorade).  Is this just a coincidence or do Boras clients not have the same endorsement prospects as non-Boras clients?  Difficult to say, but you have to believe corporations prefer to work with clients who have agents less aggressive than Boras.  If that is the case, then Boras’ style might actually be costing his clients endorsement money.

Scott Boras’ top clients and their top endorsement deal:
Johnny Damon – Puma
Manny Ramirez – EA Sports
Alex Rodriguez – Nike & Pepsico
Barry Zito – True Religion jeans

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