SBD/Issue 20/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

FINA Puts Sponsored Bibs On Swimmers; No Conflict For Phelps

FINA Hopes Bib Program Will
Eventually Finance All Swimmers

Swimmers competing in the FINA World Championships in Indianapolis this week for the first time ever are “obliged to wear bibs” promoting a FINA sponsor, which Thursday was Argent Mortgage, according to Craig Lord of the LONDON TIMES. Under a deal between FINA and its marketing agency Dentsu, competitors including Michael Phelps wore Argent-logo bibs “as they walked out to the race and when being presented with medals.” Phelps, who has made about $5M in endorsement deals since the Olympics, is sponsored by Argent. Lord: “The issue of what happens should the likes of Ian Thorpe ... be required to wear the logo of a rival company to one of his private sponsors remains to be seen.” Thorpe is not competing in Indianapolis. FINA Dir Cornel Marculescu said that the deal was designed to “help the whole sport, not just a few individuals,” adding, “Our dream is that by the World Long-Course Championships in Melbourne [in ’07] we will be able to pay for every swimmer and team to be there” (LONDON TIMES, 10/8).

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