Branding the World of Sports

Posts Tagged ‘Endorsement Deals’

Endorsement Profile: Maria Sharapova

Posted by ZA on December 11, 2009

Athlete: Maria Sharapova
Sport: Tennis
League: WTA
Agent: IMG (Max Eisenbud)
Age: 22   (April 19, 1987)
Rank in SI’s richest athletes: 13 (International list)

Maria Sharapova endorsement deals (thru Dec. 2009):
* Canon
* Cole Haan
* Land Rover
* Nike (athletic shoes & apparel)
* Parlux Fragrances (perfume)
* Prince (tennis racquets)
* Sony Ericsson
* Tag Heuer
* Tiffany & Co

Former Sharapova endorsement deals:
Colgate-Palmolive, Gatorade, Motorola & Tropicana

Maria Sharapova endorsement potential:
Maria Sharapova is the top female endorsement star in the sports world.  Sharapova has competition from Venus & Serena Williams, Danica Patrick, Michelle Wie and Lorena Ochoa; but Maria is still the top endorser among female athletes.  Sharapova’s endorsement success has been helped by her good looks; she was named in 2005 as one of People magazine’s 50 most beautiful celebrities in the world.  But Sharapova is not just another pretty face (i.e.- Anna Kournikova), she is one of the top players in tennis who has won 3 of the 4 tennis major tournaments.

Only in her early 20’s Sharapova is already a global brand, which her sponsors take advantage of by featuring her in advertisements in the United States, Europe and Asia.  She is from Russia, but does not endorse any Russian companies.  But her lineup of endorsement deals is the envy of any athlete in the world.  She has some of the biggest companies on the planet tailoring their marketing campaigns around her name.  Canon has featured Sharapova in new product launches which were so successful that they even made Maria’s dog a star.

What’s next for the tennis superstar slash celebrity slash endorsement queen?  Maybe retirement.  Maria has made comments that she doesn’t plan to play tennis for her another decade.  She’s said she would like to follow the lead of Justine Henin and retire young so she can pursue other life goals.  That means that sponsors who wish to align their brand with the top earning female athlete on the planet better hurry up.  Maria Sharapova is in her prime as an endorsement star, but there may not be that many years left for advertisers to sign her if she decides to follow her dreams to raise a family.

Maria Sharapova commercial for Canon:

Posted in Apparel & Shoes, Athletes, Endorsement Deals, Endorsement Profile | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Endorsement Profile: Tiger Woods

Posted by ZA on December 3, 2009

Athlete: Tiger Woods
Sport: Golf
League: PGA
Agent: Mark Steinberg (IMG)
Age: 33 (December 30, 1975)
Rank in SI’s 50 richest athletes:  1st
Endorsement value:  $105,000,000.00

Tiger Woods endorsement deals (thru Nov. 2009):
* AT&T
* Gatorade (Pepsico)
* Gillette (Procter & Gamble)
* EA Sports (Electronic Arts)
* NetJets
* Nike Golf
* Tag Heuer
* TLC Vision Corporation
* Upper Deck

Tiger Woods endorsement potential:
Tiger Woods is the top athlete endorser in the world today.  He is the Cadillac of athlete endorsements (even if he occasionally drives erratically in his own Escalade).  Every major corporation wants him, but few can afford him.  Woods has even surged past sports brand icon Michael Jordan in-terms of earnings; Tiger is first athlete in sports to earn more than $1 billion dollars in their career.  Much of that money comes from the rich endorsement deals that Tiger has had for over a decade.

Tiger’s endorsement history is legendary, starting with a $40 million contract from Nike when he turned pro in 1996.  Tiger basically made Nike Golf what it is today and Phil Knight rewarded him handsomely with a $100 million extension in 2006.  Tiger has become the driving force behind Nike Golf, even as they have added other big name golfers to their endorsement stable (i.e.- Stewart Cink, Anthony Kim, Justin Leonard).  Woods is a poster boy for their product line, having dropped his lucrative Titleist sponsorship when he switched to play a Nike golf ball.

Much of Woods appeal as an endorsement star has to do with his phenomenal ability on the golf course.  Tiger grabbed the sport of golf by the throat and has not yet let go; in a sport with some of the biggest endorsement stars on the planet (Phil Mickelson, Arnold Palmer) Tiger is the king.  It only helps that golf’s demographic is one that appeals to the bluest of blue chip companies; businesses that want their product featured (by Tiger Woods) to that affluent golf crowd.  Tiger’s so marketable that even his caddy, Steve Williams, has grabbed endorsement deals with Nike and Valvoline.  Let that sink in for a second…even Tiger Woods’ caddy has major corporations paying him money to endorse their product.

Perhaps the truest test of Tiger Woods endorsement appeal is understood by looking at the list of corporations that he used to endorse.  Tiger’s former deals with Accenture, American Express, Buick, General Mills, Titleist and Rolex would be the envy of most athletes, yet Woods has just moved on to bigger, more lucrative deals.

Tiger Woods has truly changed the game in-terms of endorsement deals.  Like Jordan did before him, Woods seeks out “business partnerships” rather than just contractual endorsement deals.  He is setting the standard today on how athletes and sponsors partner up.  His deals are making sports stars, like Tiger, more money from corporate sponsors than they have ever earned before.

Tiger Woods commercial for Nike Golf:

[Edit: Accenture dropped their endorsement deal with Tiger Woods in December 2009 – a few days after this post]

Posted in Endorsement Deals, Endorsement Profile, Gatorade, Golf, Nike, Sports Brands | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

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

Posted in Endorsement Deals, MLB | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Athletes desperate for endorsement dollars

Posted by ZA on March 30, 2009

There are thousands of professional athletes around the World, very few of them will ever pull in significant endorsement dollars.  For every LeBron James and Tiger Woods there are ten thousand other athletes who combined don’t earn endorsements equal to what LeBron and Tiger earn in a single year.

So along comes French pole vaulter, Romain Mesnil, to show us just how desperate athletes are to pick an endorsement deal.  Mesnil’s contract with Nike recently expired, so Mesnil took it upon himself to try to find a new sponsor.  His plan was not to call up Adidas, Puma and Reebok.  No, instead Romain decided to use the web to go viral.  His strategy worked.  His run through the streets of Paris that was posted on Youtube has already had over 200,000 views.  Its just a matter of time until some company slaps their logo on his back…my bet is on Golden Palace.

Oh, did I mention he ran through Paris in the nude?  Yep, only carrying his pole (pun intended).  Here is the video:

Posted in Athletes, Endorsement Deals, Nike | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Bank of America is making money off sports marketing

Posted by ZA on March 16, 2009

Why all the fuss about Bank of America spending on sports marketing? People have been complaining about BOA’s spending on sports endorsement deals and sponsorships because BOA took government bailout money.  They took TARP money, but Bank of America is making money from their sports marketing deals.  Let me repeat that, Bank of America is reporting that they are MAKING MONEY from their sports marketing deals.  So it appears those that criticize BOA’s spending, might not really know all of the facts; perhaps they should have listened to the BOA CEO before passing judgment.

Bank of America CEO, Kenneth Lewis, says they make “Ten dollars ($10) in revenue and three dollars ($3) in earnings” for every one dollar ($1) they pump into sports marketing deals.  Lewis went on to say that the money Bank of America spends on sports marking “is not wasted money.”

I don’t know much about how Bank of America runs their business, but it does appear their support of sports has been lucrative for their business.  They are making a 300% ROI (profit) from investing in sports, which you take every time in the advertising world  So perhaps the politicians in Washington will refrain from wagging their tongues on the matter, until they at least have some facts to support their criticism.

Bank of America’s Sports Sponsorships

* Major League Baseball
* Nascar
* PGA golf
* US Olympic Team

Read more on BOA’s sports sponsorships on their website.

Posted in Sponsorship Deals, Sports Marketing | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »