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Derek Jeter's Portfolio Includes Deals With
Gatorade, Nike, Gillette, 24 Hour Fitness
Derek Jeter is the most marketable player in baseball, according to an exclusive survey of sports business execs and media personalities conducted by THE DAILY. Fresh off his fifth World Series title with the Yankees, Jeter earned an overwhelming 80% of first-place votes. No other player received more than three votes for the top spot, further evidence that the 36-year-old remains MLB’s biggest name. The Yankee captain’s inclusion on 47 of 49 ballots is eight clear of our second-most marketable player, Albert Pujols. The Cardinals slugger appeared on 39 ballots and received two first-place votes.
ROUNDING OUT THE TOP FIVE: Perhaps equally noteworthy is who follows Jeter and Pujols as MLB’s most marketable players. Joe Mauer narrowly missed the second spot, further evidence of the Twins catcher’s increasing national visibility. Right behind Mauer is rookie phenom Stephen Strasburg, the Nationals pitcher who ranks fourth on our list after just seven weeks in the major leagues. Strasburg also received the second-most first-place votes (3), an indication that baseball is thirsty for a new star ready to assume the spotlight once Jeter hangs up his cleats. Phillies slugger Ryan Howard rounds out the top five.
METHODOLOGY: The survey was distributed to corporate brand managers, marketing and branding executives, agencies and baseball media, who were asked to list, in order, the top five most marketable players in MLB. Points were awarded on a five-point scale, with a player awarded five points for a first-place vote, four points for second place, etc. Click here to see the full results.RKNAMETEAM1ST2ND3RD4TH5THTOTAL BALLOTSTOTAL POINTS% FIRST1Derek JeterYankees39624722380%2
Albert Pujols Cardinals271794391114%3 Joe Mauer Twins214756341034%4 Stephen Strasburg Nationals3733521636%5 Ryan Howard Phillies1368624572%6 Evan Longoria Rays263516370%7 Tim Lincecum Giants135413270%8 David Wright Mets23128210%9 Alex Rodriguez Yankees12216182%t10 Dustin Pedroia Red Sox122590%t10 Torii Hunter Angels11292%
CAPTAIN AMERICA: Jeter now is in his third decade as the face of baseball’s most popular and global brand, and his staying power is evident. Jeter also topped THE DAILY’s last two most marketable reports, in ’05 and ’03, and earned his highest percentage of first-place votes this year. Armed with Hollywood looks and charm -- not to mention 15 endorsement deals with companies such as Nike, Gatorade, Gillette, Delta, Upper Deck and 24 Hour Fitness -- Jeter is a “clear cut number one,” says Premier Partnerships President & CEO Randy Bernstein. "Derek is so marketable due to his likability, passion, hard work, leadership and most of all, his humility,” Bernstein said. “He is a proven champion and has led his one and only team to multiple championships while also building up exceptional Hall of Fame statistics." Almost all surveyed by THE DAILY applaud his consistency and his overall appeal, including N.Y. Daily News Yankees beat writer Mark Feinsand, who called Jeter the “complete package” for Madison Avenue. Having just played in his 11th All-Star Game, Jeter’s good standing with fans is supremely evident. “You’ve got the star power. He’s playing in the biggest market. He’s obviously an All-Star caliber player. And I think more important than anything else, he’s one of the few guys that has really just stayed out of all kinds of trouble and controversy,” said Feinsand. “He’s got a clean-cut image and he’s always lived up to it. Any company that would get into business with him wouldn’t be worried about waking up and seeing his face flashed across the front page for the wrong reasons.”
THE BEST IS YET TO COME? While the 16-year veteran, represented by CAA’s Casey Close, may be on the back side of his career, IMG Global Consulting Managing Dir, Senior VP & Head David Abrutyn believes Jeter's marketability will remain potent even when his playing days come to a close. "He has put himself in a position not only to be marketed in his playing days,” Abrutyn said, “but certainly has set himself up for success long after he’s hit the last ball." As strong as Jeter’s brand is nationally, the affection that New York has for its captain might be twice as strong. “He’s as popular now as he’s ever been,” Steiner Sports Chair Brandon Steiner said. “I think a lot of people like partnering with him, from an endorsement standpoint. He’s just so respectful in his approach. A lot of time you just don’t get that with celebrities.” Jeter has a relationship with the Manhattan-based collectibles company, and Steiner says the shortstop’s popularity in the local market is stronger than it has ever been. “He’s just so consistent, and I think people feel that reliability,” Steiner said. “It’s just really unusual for a player and a personality like him to be that consistent for that long, all going in the right direction.”
Pujols' Consistency Helps Him
Attract Marketing Attention
SPIRIT OF ST. LOUIS: Consistency has been a trademark of Pujols’ reputation for years. Like Jeter and Mauer, the three-time MVP has spent his entire 10-year career with the same franchise. His loyalty to Cardinals fans is not lost on 16W Marketing co-Founder & President Steve Rosner, who calls St. Louis a “great, great baseball town.” Pujols, represented by prominent baseball agent Dan Lozano, this year alone has appeared in national ad campaigns for Dove and Wheaties, but still never lost touch with his adopted hometown. “He has done great things in his local community,” said Rosner, “and he just seems to come off as a nice, genuine guy. I think the public and advertisers see that." While Jeter uses his social life -- dating movie stars and pop singers while walking the red carpets in the Big Apple -- to enhance his brand, Pujols leads a life more fitting for the Midwest. “He doesn’t get in trouble, he doesn’t generate bad stories or sound clips,” Team Epic Principal David Grant said of Pujols. “He stays on the back page and leaves the Page 6 gossip columns to guys like A-Rod."
HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS: Perhaps no slugger better exemplifies the growing recognition of smaller-market players than Mauer, Minnesota’s home-grown MVP. The Twins catcher, who signed last year with IMG for marketing opportunities, boasts endorsement deals with Nike, Sony, Rawlings, Kemps, Anytime Fitness, and a couple more national sponsorships are in the works, according to a source close to Mauer. The 27-year-old St. Paul native earlier this year elected to stay home, signing a new eight-year contract with the Twins. While rejecting the chance to play in a bigger market than the Twin Cities might have been detrimental to his endorsement portfolio in the past, it now is one of his most appealing attributes, according to respondents. “Unbelievable hitter with an unbelievable clean-cut image,” Team Epic’s Grant said. “He plays for his hometown team, and may do so forever. Still plenty of great years ahead of him.” The rapid rise of Mauer’s Madison Avenue appeal is not going unnoticed in Minneapolis. “Joe’s pretty low-key with the media, so it’s fun watching him come out of his shell,” said Star Tribune Twins beat writer Joe Christensen. “I see similarities to Peyton Manning. Both come from small markets and have that wholesome, aw-shucks image. People can’t help but like them and trust them, and these advertisers are doing a great job tapping into Joe’s personality.”
Rodriguez, Ortiz And Ramirez (Shown In '08) Hurt
By Association With Performance-Enhancing Drugs
CAN'T TOUCH THIS: Looking at the results, it is clear Corporate America wants to stay far away from those implicated, in any way, in baseball’s steroid era. Alex Rodriguez dropped seven spots from the '05 survey after he admitted to performance-enhancing drug use, while David Ortiz (10th in ’05) and Dodgers LF Manny Ramirez were listed on just two and one of the 49 ballots, respectively. “I think the marketability of these stars is far from being complete,” said rEvolution President & CEO John Rowady. “Those guys are superstars. It’s a huge issue. If (sponsors) are not already involved with them, they’re going to wait and see. They obviously don’t want any of the backlash that will occur just by being associated with the storyline. Sponsors are under too much scrutiny right now across the board.” The N.Y. Daily News’ Feinsand agrees, especially when it comes to Rodriguez. “He’s still in the big market, and he actually on the field has accomplished more now than he had in any other years now that he won the World Series and had the big October,” he said. “I think once the steroids scandal hit him, that pretty much marked away his marketability. You haven’t seen any of those guys involved in the drug scandals stay in terms of marketing and advertising.”
FAST TIMES: Perhaps the most surprising entry in our survey is rookie phenom Stephen Strasburg, whom our panelists ranked as the fourth most marketable player in MLB. There is no denying the buzz surrounding Strasburg's much-anticipated Major League debut with the Nationals this season, particularly in DC, but is it too early to rank the flame-throwing rookie alongside established stars of the game? Our panel of experts does not think so. For more on Strasburg’s marketability, THE DAILY tomorrow presents baseball’s most marketable young players.
Ramirez' Silver And Teal Shoes Part Of
Boombah's New H2R Line Of Clothing
Marlins SS Hanley Ramirez used last week's Home Run Derby to showcase his new silver-and-teal shoes "as part of an unveiling of his new H2R line of clothing, produced by a company called Boombah which signed Ramirez to a sponsorship deal" before this season, according to Ben Volin of the PALM BEACH POST. The clothing line includes "baseball T-shirts, pullovers, graphic tees and ... the flashy, space-aged spikes." Ramirez did not "design any of the clothes, but everything got his final approval." The shoes he wore "were the talk of the Home Run Derby broadcast" on ESPN. Among All-Stars, only Marlins P Josh Johnson "received a pair, though he didn't wear them because of his contract with Nike." Volin noted Boombah, an online-only store, "never had a baseball client before Ramirez, concentrating mostly on softball apparel." Ramirez, tied for 25th on THE DAILY's list of most marketable MLB players, signed with the company "through a mutual friend of his agent, Andy Mota, who said the clothing line is a way for Ramirez to create a brand and spread his profile beyond the South Florida market." Mota: "We're not New York, L.A., nothing like that. We're not on ESPN that much. This is very good for him. He has nothing to lose by trying it." The clothing line also is a sign that Ramirez is "becoming more comfortable with his place as one of baseball's brightest and most recognizable stars." Mota said, "We're taking baby steps, but he's matured and come to grips with his image and how big he has become. He's finally cognizant of his ability to market himself and develop a brand" (PALM BEACH POST, 7/18).
Watch C.J. Spiller And Eric Berry's
New Adi Scorch Spot
SPORTINGNEWS.com's Chris Littmann noted Bills RB C.J. Spiller and Chiefs S Eric Berry, the "top two names picked up" by adidas from this year's NFL Draft class, are featured in a new ad for the adi Scorch football cleat. Spiller and Berry in the ad "literally cut up the competition," taking apart a pair of Nike cleats. Littmann: "Nike is never one to slack on its advertising, so I wonder whether we'll see a rebuttal of some sort. Either way, this is one of the best concept ads I've seen in a while" (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 7/16). Meanwhile, in Denver, Dave Krieger noted though in the past we have seen "pre-performance hype for highly touted NFL rookies," it has "always been focused on top draft picks almost unanimously expected to be pro stars." Broncos QB Tim Tebow, the No. 25 pick in the NFL Draft, "has to be the lowest-drafted player ever to lead the league in jersey sales before his first game." Krieger also noted Tebow has his own Nike shoe, which is "your basic trainer" (DENVER POST, 7/18).
ISSUE OF PERCEPTION: The AP's Rachel Cohen noted Titans RB Chris Johnson and Vikings RB Adrian Peterson led the league in rushing the last two seasons, but Peterson is in "seemingly every commercial while Johnson is rarely seen." NFL Dir of Youth Tackle Football Jerry Horowitz said the reason is "all about image and perception." Horowitz: "The days of hoodlums are over." Cohen noted Johnson "has never been in trouble off the field." Johnson earlier this year said, "I know people think I'm a bad guy because of my dreads and gold teeth" (AP, 7/16).
GOING GREEN: Fox NFL analyst Terry Bradshaw has "agreed to become the pitchman" for Indiana-based EverGreen Recreational Vehicles, which "promotes its recreational vehicles as more environmentally friendly than those of its competitors." Bradshaw will "become the company's face by traveling to trade shows and publicizing its RVs" (AP, 7/16).
Tiger Woods 11 Not Among
Top 10 Best-Selling Games In June
NPD Group released a study that noted sales of EA Sports' "Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11" have dropped 68% "compared with the first-month sales of last year's version" (N.Y. POST, 7/17). The game was "not in the top 10 best-selling games in June" and was beaten in sales by "UFC 2010: Undisputed," among others (CNBC.com, 7/16).
SIR LANCE-A-LOT: In N.Y., Filip Bondy wrote Versus' Tour de France coverage suggests that Lance Armstrong "continues to drag his sorry bones across the Alps and through the valleys at the Tour de France, despite sinking daily in the standings," because he has "many, many products to sell." Armstrong appears in "every ad, it seems sometimes, except one by a pharmaceutical company touting the wonderful benefits of testosterone." Bondy added, "I've never seen so many commercials on a sports telecast, by the way" (NYDAILYNEWS.com, 7/15).
POWER TO THE PEOPLE: SI.com's Bruce Martin noted Will Power won his fourth Izod IndyCar Series race of the '10 season yesterday, and U.S. racing fans are "getting to know his dry comical wit from a series of commercials featuring Power and Team Penske NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Justin Algaier." Both are sponsored by Verizon, and the "commercials feature Power and Algaier at a restaurant with an unnamed companion with a mustache while Power chides Algaier's nickname 'Little Gator.'" Power, a native Australian, then proceeds to suggest a better nickname would be "Little Tiger" or "Little Dingo" (SI.com, 7/18).
CHECK MATE: The Southern Connecticut State Univ. athletic department and Nike reached a sponsorship agreement that will supply all of the school's 19 intercollegiate programs with uniforms, footwear, apparel and equipment. The deal goes into effect with the '10-11 academic year (SCSU).