SBD/January 26, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Vick Lands First Paid Endorsement Since Prison With Football Equipment Supplier

Vick's deal with Unequal Technologies is expected to be announced tomorrow
Eagles QB Michael Vick has signed a two-year deal with Unequal Technologies, his "first paid endorsement contract since his release from prison” in May '09, according to Rob Maaddi of the AP. The deal with Unequal Technologies, a "provider of the football pads Vick wore most of last season,” will be announced tomorrow. Unequal Technologies CEO Rob Vito said, "We're real excited about it. Michael is good people. He paid his dues.” Vito added that Vick is the company's first corporate spokesperson. Terms of his deal were not disclosed, but Vito said it is a "sizable" contract. Maaddi noted when Vick during the '10 season “returned after missing three games with a rib injury, he wore a vest designed by Unequal.” He later “wore shoulder pads and thigh pads made by the company” (AP, 1/25). The Unequal Technologies deal comes after Vick appeared in a commercial for New Jersey-based Woodbury Nissan, first airing in December. Temple Univ. assistant sports marketing professor Joe Mahan said, "For a national more prominent brand, I think it's going to be wait and see." Mahan added, "I would still hesitate to say the floodgate is going to open" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 1/26).

LEARNING FROM HISTORY
: CBSSPORTS.com’s Will Brinson writes Vick is “now moving back up the ladder in which he held a pretty prominent rung” before his incarceration, he wondered “how soon will the big names in national advertising come calling?” Fans have “two real baselines to examine here” -- Lakers G Kobe Bryant and Tiger Woods. Woods did not lose "the biggest of endorsers, Nike,” after admitting to multiple extramarital affairs, while Bryant was not dropped by Nike following allegations in '03 of sexual assault, although Coca-Cola “did dump him until his image cleared up.” Neither was “found guilty of anything and neither served any prison time.” Brinson: “Looking at those two examples -- Woods and Bryant -- and remembering that neither of them were actually convicted -- means that there's a pretty good chance you can expect Nike to take the lead on inking Vick to a major deal” (CBSSPORTS.com, 1/26).
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