SBD/July 23, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Braun's Marketability Damaged By Suspension; Will Milwaukee Fans Forgive?

Braun has endorsements with Nike as well as Wilson and Mikita Sports
MLB's decision to suspend Brewers LF Ryan Braun for the remainder of the season "will impact not only the Milwaukee Brewers' franchise but also the star outfielder's career and marketability," according to Don Walker of the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL. The Brewers will "lose their best player and a face of the franchise that helped the team sell T-shirts, jerseys and other merchandise." Braun's jersey has been "a big seller since he signed" with the team. Braun also was "in the community representing the Brewers as a big star who made the commitment to Milwaukee instead of seeking fame and fortune in a larger market." SportsCorp President Marc Ganis said, "Braun lied about it with such determination and swagger. That is going to hurt the franchise, and he can't be the face of the franchise again for a while." Octagon First Call Managing Dir David Schwab said of Braun's admission, "It inevitably affects trust. ... When brands have choices, and when stories like this come up, it immediately rules people out." Walker notes because Braun "plays in a small market, his endorsements are relatively small: Nike, Wilson, Mikita Sports and the Sam Bat Co., are the most widely known." CytoSport, the maker of Muscle Milk, "dropped Braun last year as an endorser." Braun's suspension also "makes his collectibles and memorabilia much less valuable than they were in the days he was riding high as a one-time most valuable player" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 7/23).

FALLEN IDOL: In Milwaukee, Michael Hunt writes, "To the question of how Braun's image will be affected in a town that has embraced and stood with him for seven seasons, a lot of it will be up to him." He has a "head start in that Milwaukee always has been quite protective of the legitimate star who has planted his professional and entrepreneurial flag in this city." It "might hurt the restaurant business he shares" with Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, but "so be it." It "might hurt his endorsements and cause people who saw him as something more than a rich professional athlete with human qualities to look at him in a different light, which is a very healthy thing indeed" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 7/23).
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