SBD/August 22, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Female Athletes Competing With Males For Endorsements Despite Tougher Challenges

Delle Donne is looking for a deal with a cosmetics company
Male and female athletes are "increasingly competing with one another for lucrative endorsement deals," according to Gerald Flores of WOMEN'S WEAR DAILY. Female sports stars are "beginning to make headway, particularly within the fashion industry." However, brand experts said that female personalities "still face tougher challenges in getting marketing partnerships than their male counterparts." Octagon President of Athletes & Personalities Phil de Picciotto said that one reason is the two genders are "on an unequal playing field when it comes to getting national exposure." He added that athletes who "don’t participate in team sports have more of an opportunity to be recognized by the general public." de Picciotto: "These athletes also tend to have more control over their own brands than in a team sport." Some experts said that there is "one major difference between male and female spokespeople." Engage Marketing President & Chief Solutions Officer Kevin Adler said, "You’d be hard-pressed to find a popular male athlete who doesn’t also have physicality and sex appeal. But that comes second to winning for guys, whereas for female athletes, looks come first." While a sports star's attractiveness is "one component of marketability, having a platform to build their brand message is just as important." Fifteen Minutes PR Founder Howard Bragman said, "In a sense, a female athlete has to be bigger than her sport." Bragman added that there are marketing opportunities for female athletes if they "look to partner with the right brand." Bragman: "Every athlete needs to understand their personal brand really well. There are a lot of opportunities besides fashion that they can explore" (, 8/19).

DONNE DEAL: In Chicago, Danny Ecker reported WNBA Sky F Elena Delle Donne has "played 'camera-ready' since her junior year of college, when she decided to wear eyeliner on the court." She and her older brother, Gene, who is her agent, now are "angling to work with a cosmetics brand, if the right opportunity comes along" (, 8/19).
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