SBD/August 8, 2012/Olympics

Gymnast Aly Raisman Has "Narrow Window" To Capitalize On Gold Medal Victories

Raisman's three Olympic medals were the most for any U.S. gymnast in London
U.S. gymnast Aly Raisman's two individual medals -- a Gold in the floor exercise and a Bronze on the balance beam -- coupled with her Gold Medal for the team competition is "leaving her poised for endorsements galore -- but she only has a narrow window to capitalize on her golden glory," according to marketing experts cited by Tenley Woodman of the BOSTON HERALD. Boston-based marketing firm Big Fish President David Gerzof Richard said, "If you look into the past focus on gymnasts, there is Nastia Luikin. She pulled down Visa, AT&T, Adidas. Shawn Johnson, she pulled down Adidas, Cheerios, Ortega, Coca-Cola. ... These are the brands. I wouldn't be surprised if we see them right out of the gate." Woodman notes in addition to endorsements, Raisman "can look forward to sports commentary gigs and the speaking circuit." Whether she "becomes the face of a brand or goes back to training, former Olympians said she's already perfected her most marketable skill." Former Olympian Carol Feeney: "That type of work ethic never leaves you, of being someone who puts everything on the line. That stays with you your whole life" (BOSTON HERALD, 8/8).

JUST GETTING STARTED: Chicago-based Navigate Marketing President AJ Maestas said if Gold Medal-winning gymnast Gabby Douglas' "business is well-managed and her career stays on track, she should make between $2 million and $4 million in endorsement revenue per year for the next four years." Douglas' agent Sheryl Shade said, "She appeals to everyone -- to the moms who take their little girls to the gym, to the little girls who want to be like her, to the African American community. Everyone is relating to Gabby." In L.A., Diane Pucin cites sources as saying that Douglas' deal with Kellogg's Corn Flakes is "worth about $50,000." AEG Facilities Marketing Dir Tayra Lagomarsino, who is co-promoting with USA Gymnastics on the post-Olympic Kellogg's Tour of Gymnastics Champions, said that ticket sales "have increased every day since Douglas and the U.S. team won gold last week." Lagomarsino: "We've seen an uptick every day of competition. Gabby winning those golds, we're seeing her everywhere."  (L.A. TIMES, 8/8).

LOYALTY PAYS: ESPN.com's Darren Rovell wrote one factor that should convince Gold Medal-winning swimmer Michael Phelps to "stay out of the pool" is that he can "make more money in retirement." Phelps will "always be seen as an Olympic legend, and his status as the most decorated Olympian of all time will be difficult to beat." The companies that endorse Phelps also "have to like where they are." Most of his deals extend through '16, and by "staying with the same brands, Phelps can give them a bigger bang for their buck by appearing in advertising during future Games." That is "to say nothing of Olympic hospitality, meet-and-greets, speeches and autograph signings." Additionally, "sticking with the same brands instead of starting over also helps Phelps with his endorsement credibility" (ESPN.com, 8/7).

STUMBLE COULD HURT LIU: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Laurie Burkitt notes advertisers "stayed loyal" to Chinese hurdler Liu Xiang after he missed the 110-meter race in '08 due to an Achilles-tendon injury," but some doubt sponsors "will be so kind" after he was injured in yesterday's preliminary heat. Liu "missed the first hurdle, crashed to the ground and hopped off in what appeared to be a state of controlled agony and embarrassment." Liu has "raked in millions of dollars since winning a gold medal in the 110-meter event in 2004, becoming a megastar in the minds of a billion-plus Chinese consumers." WPP Group's JWT ad agency North Asia Chief Exec Tom Doctoroff said that companies in China "largely want to work with stars who stand out as icons of success." A Coca-Cola spokesperson "declined to comment on the company's future plans with Mr. Liu," while a Nike spokesperson prior to the race said that the "outcome did not matter" (WSJ.com, 8/8).

BOOMING IN BRITAIN: The GUARDIAN's Simon Goodley writes British cyclist Victoria Pendleton is set to become a "marketing star -- despite losing her Olympic sprint crown -- as she retires from competitive cycling." Pendleton "bowed out from the sport" after winning one Gold and one Silver Medal in London. Fast Track Sports Marketing Dir John Ridgeon said, "Victoria is hugely glamorous and alongside Jess Ennis she will be the poster girl of the Games." He added that Pendleton "could cash in with deals to promote 'lifestyle, fashion, makeup -- all the female brands.'" Goodley notes Pendleton's current deals "to endorse a host of brands from Halfords bikes and Hovis bread to Pantene beauty products and financial accounts for her image rights company, Invictus V, show how the cyclist's marketability has boomed in the run-up to London 2012" (GUARDIAN, 8/8).
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