SBD/July 12, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Many U.S. Olympians Will Not Reap Post-Games Sponsorship Deals

Only a few of the 530 U.S. athletes competing at the London Olympics "will cash in on their success immediately after the Games,” as sports marketing experts claim that most sponsorship deals “are signed about a year in advance,” according to Michael Florek of USA TODAY. America's attention on the Olympics “evaporates quickly” after the Games conclude, and sponsors “prefer to have athletes signed that they can use in advertising campaigns in the months leading up to the Games.” Only the “biggest stars will find themselves with new endorsement opportunities in August.” Provided an athlete wins his or her event, a post-Olympic sponsorship “likely would draw six figures.” Baker Street Advertising Exec VP & Creative Dir Bob Dorfman said that a Gold Medal is “almost a prerequisite for post-Olympic marketing success, but it's not the only thing.” A “winning personality, a tale of overcoming obstacles and the potential to compete in several Games can also boost an athlete,” as some companies will “look to sign a budding star to a long-term deal.” Florek notes gymnast Gabby Douglas, swimmer Ryan Lochte and sprinter Allyson Felix have the potential to become marketing stars, as does swimmer Missy Franklin. However, Franklin has stated that she “wants to swim in college” and she has “passed up endorsement deals because she doesn't want to give up her NCAA eligibility.” Premier Management Group President & CEO Evan Morgenstein said of Franklin's marketing potential, "I don't think you could put a dollar amount on it. Over the next four years, she could be the highest paid Olympic athlete in the United States" (USA TODAY, 7/12).
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