SBD/July 23, 2012/Olympics

Octagon Looking To Find Corporate Partners That Will Focus On Phelps' "Broader Goals"

Phelps' agent wants to focus post-career marketing on swimming safety, growing sport
Octagon over the past three decades has “turned the marketing of Olympics athletes into a multimillion dollar business aimed at keeping competitors relevant long after the games are over,” according to Abha Bhattarai of the WASHINGTON POST. The firm this year is “representing more than 50 athletes from around the world who will compete in the London Olympics,” including U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps. Octagon Managing Dir of Olympic & Action Sports Peter Carlisle, who reps Phelps, said, “It doesn’t really matter how many medals Michael wins anymore. What we’re looking for now is a legacy, a powerful platform that will be sustainable past his competitive career.” Carlisle said that the new objective is “to focus on Phelps’ broader goals -- to popularize swimming and promote water safety -- and turn them into vehicles for corporate partnerships” (WASHINGTON POST, 7/22). Meanwhile, in Baltimore, Jill Rosen noted Phelps on Twitter Thursday “expressed his displeasure with the new look of team USA's swim caps,” and his “main gripe was their flaglessness.” Phelps wrote, "Front and back of our caps... We used to be able to have front and back side with flags but for some reason there are rules that tell us we cant do that anymore? Smh gotta love an organizing committee telling us we can't do that anymore..." (BALTIMORESUN.com, 7/19).

KING OF THE POOL: In Daytona Beach, Brent Woronoff wrote U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte is “the athlete poised to succeed the soon-to-retire Michael Phelps as the world's most prominent male swimmer,” and his image is “everywhere.” Premier Management Group President & CEO Evan Morgenstein said, "He's got the young girls who think he's hot. He's got the young guys who think he's cool. He's got the moms who think he's the boy next door. So that's three great demographics." He added, "There's no question he's got the looks, he's got the persona, but does he have the longevity? … He's going to be 31 in Rio. How does he take that fan base that's younger than he is and transition it when he's in his 30s? That's tough” (Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL, 7/22).

AMATEUR HOUR: U.S. swimmer Missy Franklin has been called the "breakout star" of the London Games by many observers, and she said, "Everyone has something different to analyze or something different to say, but it’s hard when do you hear it kind of from all these different angles. But that’s when I just have my family and friends tell me, ‘Go out there and do your best.’” NBC News' Matt Lauer noted Franklin "captured the attention of sponsors looking to capitalize on her success ... with her all-American charm and winning record in the pool." However, Franklin is maintaining her amateur status in order to swim competitively in college. Lauer told Franklin, “I’ve interviewed a lot of young athletes in your position prior to Olympic Games and most of them by this age agented-up and they’re lawyered-up and they’re sponsored-up and they’ve got the logos on them, and you aren’t that person.” Franklin: “Swimming in college has always been a dream of mine … and I want to be a part of it” (“Today,” NBC, 7/23).
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