SBD/January 2, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

Lindsey Vonn's Appeal Remains High Despite Chance Of Missing Sochi Olympics

Vonn could miss the Sochi Games due to a recent knee injury
U.S. skier Lindsey Vonn is "the most successful American skier in history, and with that status comes the financial support only a few Olympians enjoy," but her recent injuries "show both the frailty of the Olympic experience ... and Vonn’s established stardom," according to Barry Svrluga of the WASHINGTON POST. Vonn, unlike many other Olympic athletes, is a celebrity and a millionaire, sponsored by Under Armour, Red Bull, Procter & Gamble and "a host of others." Vonn has appeal "both to the public and potential advertisers." IEG Founder & Chief Insights Officer Lesa Ukman said of Vonn, "First of all, she looks gorgeous. That’s numbers one, two and three. Plus she is a gold medalist, the best-ever female ski racer. She has a great story line. She’s very media savvy. She has all the pieces that you need." Vonn is "conscious enough of her marketing position that she hasn’t changed her name from that of her ex-husband." Experts and agents said that because of  her "established status, she should not be under pressure from her sponsors to merely appear in the Olympics." That stands in contrast to an athlete like U.S. snowboarder Greg Bretz, who has "established himself as a medal contender with strong results in a series of qualifying competitions." Octagon Managing Dir of Olympic & Action Sports Peter Carlisle said of Bretz, "For a guy like that, if he doesn’t compete, it means so much. If he does well in these Games, he may have some commercial opportunity, and that means everything." UA Senior VP/Global Sports Marketing Matt Mirchin said that the company "made the decision to air commercials with Vonn over the final quarter of 2013, even with her health up in the air, because 'she deserved to be in it'" (WASHINGTON POST, 1/1).
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