SBD/August 1, 2012/Olympics

Swimming With The Current: Agent Believes Phelps Could Earn $100M In His Lifetime

Agent feels Phelps could earn over $100M from endorsements, lines of business
Agent Peter Carlisle, who reps U.S. Gold Medal-winning swimmer Michael Phelps, believes that his client "could make more than $100 million in his lifetime," according to Tripp Mickle of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. Phelps last night became the winningest Olympian of all time and collected his 19th career medal in the 200-meter freestyle relay, Carlisle believes that Phelps will "need to continue signing endorsements, promoting his foundation, traveling to international markets and developing new lines of business like the Michael Phelps Skills Center, a remote training system being piloted in Maine." If the pilot program works, Carlisle "has ambitions of taking it to other markets." Additionally, Carlisle has "already begun working on renewals with Phelps' current roster of sponsors: Visa, Omega, Under Armour, Hilton, Master Spas, Proctor & Gamble, Subway, Speedo, Pure Sport and HP." Phelps reportedly earns "more than $5 million a year from those deals." Carlisle said that several renewals and one new deal, "which is scheduled to be announced after the London Games, are completed, but he declined to disclose specifics." Omega President Stephen Urquhart last week said that the company "planned to re-sign Phelps." In terms of new deals, Phelps "still doesn't have a traditional beverage endorsement, and that's the one category Carlisle wants to fill after London 2012." He said, "That's a category that most iconic athletes is the first one they do. In his case, it's not been for a number of different reasons. Now he eases his way out of the competition side and focuses internationally, it makes sense." Carlisle has installed four swim spas in Maine "built by Phelps' sponsor Master Spas that can be used by local competitive swimmers," and footage of those swimmers "can be taped or watched live and reviewed by Bob Bowman, Phelps' coach, and his staff" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 7/30 issue).
 
LETTING THEIR PLAN RUN ITS COURSE: Carlisle said he and Phelps have "looked at sponsorships in a different way" during the swimmer's historic Olympic run. Carlisle: "At the start, it was a 10-year plan -- 10 years of competition essentially -- and our goal was essentially to have a very strong global platform so that when he was done with the competitive side of the sport, we’d have a sustainable global marketing platform for decades to follow.” Fox Business' Liz Claman noted there is a “very small window” for Olympic athletes to cash in and asked how the two “stretch it and keep it open.” Carlisle said that “partnerships now have to be not only longer in duration, but they’ve got to be a lot more meaningful.” Carlisle added, “It’s much less a financial consideration as it is the depth and meaning of the partnerships. … It is much more of a partnership than just the transactional spokesperson deal.” Claman noted that Carlisle told her he "will make a major announcement after the Olympics of a global sponsor that is starting a partnership with Michael Phelps." Claman: "It was not U.S.-based but it was something that Michael said to him previously, ‘Why can’t you get me that?’" (“Countdown to the Closing Bell,” Fox Business, 7/31).

ON TOP OF THE MOMENT: IOC TOP sponsor Visa has introduced a new ad congratulating Phelps on becoming the most decorated Olympian of all time. For the ad, Visa used video and photo cheers from fans in the U.S. that were submitted via the company’s Cheer application on Facebook in addition to footage of Phelps. The spot, titled “Congratulations Michael,” debuted on NBC following his win last night in the 200-meter freestyle relay (Visa).

LEAVING HIS MARK: In Baltimore, Jean Marbella in a front-page piece writes, "No one has ever dominated the Games as Phelps has." He has "always said that his primary goal has been to elevate his sport, and it is clear that in many ways he has done that." The gratitude Phelps' teammates "feel toward him, for shining a greater spotlight on a sport that used to get ignored except every four years, has been palpable this week as they face his exit" (Baltimore SUN, 8/1). In London, Dan Hodges writes Phelps has "achieved more than any of his colleagues have ever done, and will likely ever do." He has "stood on the medal podium and filled the lenses of NBCs cameras more times than any other human being" (London TELEGRAPH, 8/1). In DC, Mike Wise notes South African swimmer Chad le Clos, who out-touched Phelps at the wall during the 200-meter butterfly, "spent most of his news conference talking about the thrill of beating the man he had idolized since being a sixth-grader watching Phelps perform in Athens." Wise writes, "This is Phelps' legacy: He has so inspired 12-year-old kids that they've now grown up to beat him" (WASHINGTON POST, 8/1).

GREATEST OF ALL TIME?
In London, Matt Dickinson notes as Phelps "made history, he also ignited a million pub arguments about whether the most medals is the same thing as Greatest Olympian of All Time" (LONDON TIMES, 8/1). USA TODAY's Erik Brady in a front-page piece writes under the header, "The Greatest: Michael Phelps Swims Into Olympics History With His 19th Medal -- A Gold" (USA TODAY, 8/1). In Baltimore, Peter Schmuck writes, "Baltimore's own stands alone" (Baltimore SUN, 8/1). In Colorado Springs, David Ramsey notes Phelps was the two-time Olympic champion in the 200-meter butterfly and writes he is "now struggling with time." Like everyone else "who ever has lived, he’s losing the battle." Ramsey: "The Greatest Olympian of Them All is now vulnerable. And easier to love" (Colorado Springs GAZETTE, 8/1). The FINANCIAL TIMES' Roger Blitz writes, "Whatever the pressures he has faced in London, they do nothing to diminish his standing in the pantheon of Olympic greats, and his claim to be the finest swimmer the world has seen" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 8/1). In London, Simon Hart writes Phelps' silver medal in the 200-meter butterfly was "proof that his pre-eminence in the pool is now well and truly over as he gets ready for retirement immediately after events in London" (London TELEGRAPH, 8/1). NBCOlympics.com's Alan Abrahamson said, “I think what the Silver Medal showed is that he's imperfect, just like everybody else. People think that he's an automaton. In fact, he just made a mistake." Abrahamson later noted LOCOG Chair Sebastian Coe stated Phelps is the most successful Olympian of all-time but maybe not the greatest. Abrahamson: “I say this as someone who’s known Seb for long time ... and Seb comes from track and field. I think Seb would tell you that his friend Daley Thompson is the greatest or Roger Bannister is the greatest.” Rowdy Gaines disagreed and said, “I don't think it's even close. I don't know why we're even having this conversation.” NBC's Matt Lauer replied, “Because I had 30 seconds left. That's why” ("Today," NBC, 8/1).
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