SBD/July 14, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

U.S. Women's World Cup Team's Marketing Depends On Win, Limited In Time Frame

Solo likely to be the most marketable star on U.S. women's soccer team
The U.S. national women’s soccer team will play Japan in the FIFA Women’s World Cup final Sunday, but the potential for marketers to use players “after the World Cup ends is limited" because the team will have “a ghost of a stage to return to” in the U.S., according to Rovell & Kaminsky of CNBC.com. Some have suggested that team G Hope Solo "would be on her way to making millions.” N.Y.-based Strategic President Peter Stern said, "If they win out, there’s going to be a halo for them and some additional endorsement opportunities. But they clearly have to find a way to stay in the spotlight.” Stern said that he “believes that some companies will take a shot at Solo, but her appeal is limited since, unlike Maria Sharapova or Serena Williams, there's not a schedule of her guaranteed future appearances.” Stern also “believes that the best thing for a company would be to latch on to someone like Solo and hope that she gets involved in alternative programming, like a reality show, in order to retain fans and attention.” But Rovell & Kaminsky wrote if the U.S. team “falls short of winning the Cup, they can kiss any sort of endorsement deal goodbye” (CNBC.com, 7/13). After the U.S. defeated Brazil Sunday in the quarterfinals, Baker Street Advertising Exec VP & Exec Creative Dir Bob Dorfman wrote on Twitter, “Solo's got the look that could earn her multi-millions. ... Marketers itching to find the next Hamm or Chastain.” But Octagon VP & Managing Dir of First Call David Schwab responded, “Those $’s are way too high.” But Schwab did write that Solo "could be very similar to" Gold Medal-winning swimmer Amanda Beard "if marketed properly" (TWITTER.com, 7/10).

COMPARABLE ATHLETES: According to N-Score data from Nielsen Media/E-Poll, which aims to evaluate potential endorsement effectiveness, U.S. F Abby Wambach’s score measures comparably to top-ranked tennis player Caroline Wozniacki and golfer Brittany Lincicome. Wambach’s highest marks were in confidence and experience. Meanwhile, Solo’s N-Score level, which was slightly higher than Wambach’s, is comparable to WNBA Minnesota Lynx F Maya Moore and Gold Medal-winning snowboarder Hannah Teter. Solo currently is part of a Nike campaign that includes Sharapova and French Open winner Li Na (THE DAILY).

FEET OF STRENGTH: FOXSPORTS.com’s Ives Galarcep wrote the U.S. team “has picked the perfect time to pick up a sports-loving nation that badly needed an inspiration.” The U.S. women are “putting together a historic and dramatic World Cup run that feels even more impressive than the one their predecessors made en route to their 1999 triumph.” The current team is “transcending the niche that women's soccer had become and inspiring Americans of all sporting preferences with their displays of courage and fearlessness.” Galarcep: “The American women have grabbed the attention of casual sports fans, but without the perfect ending, those same fans will not hesitate to abandon the soccer and Women's World Cup bandwagons” (FOXSPORTS.com, 7/13). In Oakland, Monte Poole writes under the header, “U.S. Women Give Us A New Bandwagon To Board.” The team, with “its growing camaraderie and evident pluck, has so quickly gained the interest of not only domestic soccer fans but an entire country of people, many of whom have no more than a casual interest in any sport.” Poole: “Suddenly, again, they matter beyond the relatively insular world of soccer” (OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 7/14). In New Jersey, Tara Sullivan writes the nation is “captivated once again by a relentless, passionate group of soccer stars.” Sullivan: “This is the story of a country crying for unity, of a nation that took its time finding the love for this remarkable team but is pouring it out now in overwhelming proportion, thrilled to share in the magical journey that is but one win away from championship completion” (Bergen RECORD, 7/14). In DC, Sally Jenkins in a front-page piece writes, “This team can’t accomplish the huge cultural shift that the ’99 team did, but they still have their own part to play in the ongoing effort to popularize soccer and redefine acceptable female athleticism” (WASHINGTON POST, 7/14).
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