SBD/Issue 122/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

Latest Trouble Has Ben Roethlisberger In Hot Water With Sponsor

PLB Sports Markets
"Big Ben Beef Jerky"

Pittsburgh-based PLB Sports, which sponsors Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger, is "expressing concern over the second accusation of sexual assault leveled against him in less than a year," according to Michael McCarthy of USA TODAY. Roethlisberger this past weekend was accused of sexual assault, and PLB Sports President & CEO Ty Ballou said that the "pattern of Roethlisberger's off-the-field behavior, from his bar-hopping to his helmet-less motorcycle crash in 2006, is 'troubling.'" Ballou: "It's just very concerning. Ben is a single guy. He has every right to be out doing what he's doing. But when you're the quarterback of any team, especially the Steelers, you have to take extra measures." He added, "It's troubling. You want the offseason to be quiet. You have to put yourself in good positions. ... Ben's a good person. He does a lot for charity. But for his career, his fans and his family, you have to make good decisions." McCarthy reports PLB markets the "Big Ben Beef Jerky" brand and for the time being will "continue its relationship" with Roethlisberger. Other sponsors though are "non-committal so far." Dick's Sporting Goods, which has used Roethlisberger in marketing, and Nike both did not comment. The allegation of sexual assault "is enough to ruin an athlete's image and marketing prospects." It took Lakers G Kobe Bryant "years to recover from sexual assault charges filed against him" in Colorado in '03 (USATODAY.com, 3/9).

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