SBD/August 24, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Hope Solo Talks About Effect Of Sex Appeal In Marketing Female Athletes

Solo posed for ESPN The Magazine, may appear on "Dancing with the Stars"
U.S. women’s national soccer team G Hope Solo appeared on the “The Dan Patrick Show” Monday to promote her upcoming run in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, but the conversation turned to female athletes using their sex appeal to capitalize on marketing opportunities. Host Dan Patrick asked, “How much does sex sell sports and your role in that? Do we need to do it? Can it stand on its own?” Solo replied, “I can answer that pretty easily because the nation stood behind our team this summer in Germany. We were not wearing short skirts. We were playing as athletes … not as cute women on the field.” She noted it has “nothing to do with sex on the field” but it “had everything to do with the quality of the game.” Patrick said, “But I wonder about the marketing of it. Obviously, when you guys get on the field, you're athletes and you play. I wonder if there’s outside pressure that you feel like it has to be sold to market yourself that way.” Solo: “I can assure you going into the World Cup there was no outside marketing that had to do with the sex symbol of the U.S. Team. It had everything to do with being just the sports team. You look back and we had so much viewership without that marketing." But Solo added, "That said, post-tournament of course there's those opportunities out there for many of us, not just me, and it is our duty to capitalize on whatever we can do to bring attention to the game and to the sport, but being true to ourselves as athletes.” Solo: “Hopefully, in selling the sex symbol persona, at the end of the day we'll gain more viewership and more long-term fans.”

CAPITALIZING ON THE MOMENT: Patrick addressed the rumors about Solo appearing on the fall season of ABC's "Dancing with the Stars," saying "sources in Hollywood" told him Solo would join the cast. Solo replied, “Oh boy, are those sources correct? You will not know until next week when they make their announcement.” Patrick said, “So you’re not denying it?” Solo: “I'm not admitting it either.” Patrick told Solo appearing on “DWTS” is a “great move” because she needs to “capitalize on your popularity with what's going on." He noted Solo has "already posed nude” for ESPN The Magazine’s next Body Issue, and said, "If you posed nude, you should be able to dance out there.” Solo: “I don't know about your sources. You’ve got to work on your sources.” Solo did say, “I will tell you that ESPN has been amazing in support of the women's soccer team so I do do a lot for ESPN” (“The Dan Patrick Show,” 8/22).
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