SBD/Issue 165/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

Extreme Heat: Dwyane Wade’s Celebrity Continues To Grow

Heat G Dwyane Wade’s jersey was the No. 1 seller last week in the NBA, according to data from Florida-based SportsScan Info cited by Scott Soshnick of BLOOMBERG NEWS. During the regular season, Wade’s jersey was ninth, while Heat C Shaquille O’Neal’s jersey ranked first. SportsScan Marketing Dir Neil Schwartz noted that Wade has “three different styles [of jerseys] in the top 10.” Schwartz: “It looks as though there’s a new star on the horizon for the NBA.” He added that Wade’s “surge also has catapulted the Heat to the No. 1 spot among team sales the past two weeks.” For most of the season, the Heat had been the eighth- or ninth-best seller in the league. O’Neal has three jerseys in the top 25 (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 5/18).

SHOE IN: ESPN.com’s Darren Rovell noted that while Nike guaranteed a combined $108M to Cavaliers F LeBron James ($90M) and Nuggets F Carmelo Anthony ($18M), the best offers made to Wade, the fifth-overall pick in the ’03 NBA draft, “topped out at $400,000.” Converse Sports Marketing Dir Ric Wilson, whose company has a deal with Wade, said, “LeBron was a property before coming into the Nike deal because of the exposure he got in high school. Dwyane simply flew under the radar.” Wade’s agent Henry Thomas added, “No one in the shoe business thought that he would become what he has become.” Rovell reported the suggested retail price for Wade’s signature shoe, due out this fall, will be $90. Converse already makes a Wade lifestyle shoe called the Wade County, which sells for $65 (ESPN.com, 5/16).

WISH GRANTED: USA TODAY’s Ian O’Connor wrote Wade “is the gift” NBA Commissioner David Stern has been “hoping for, a high-flying action hero who keeps himself grounded for the sake of his teammates and his league. This is the guard who can blow past the Kobe Bryants, the T-Macs, the Vince Carters, the Grant Hills and the rest of the perimeter powers who entered the NBA as possible heirs to the throne.” Wade’s high school coach, Jack Fitzgerald, said, “The question people keep asking is whether he can handle the celebrity. I think he can. Dwyane’s got the image you look for, and he’s worked hard on that” (USA TODAY, 5/17). For more on Wade.

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