SBD/January 21, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

Seahawks' Sherman Eyes Marketing Deals To Capitalize On Newfound Notoriety

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A marketing rep for Seahawks CB Richard Sherman said interest from corporate America "has only increased" since Sherman's controversial postgame interview with Fox' Erin Andrews at the NFC Championship Game, according to Darren Rovell of ESPN.com. Fritz Martin Management Owner & CEO Jamie Fritz said that he has "kept a lot of companies interested in Sherman on the sidelines through the season and he and his client will weigh the risk of holding brands off a little bit more in order to perhaps command Super Bowl champion prices." Rovell noted Sherman "not only owned the media spotlight after the game on Sunday and into Monday," he also "owned commercial time." Both Nike and Beats By Dre "debuted national commercials featuring Sherman on Sunday." Beats "played both cards in the NFC Championship game, as they also count" 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick as an endorser. When the Seahawks won, the brand switched yesterday's advertising "only to Sherman's ad." Sherman in addition to Beats and Nike "has a deal with CenturyLink that has put his face all over Seattle -- on radio and television and even on local buses."  (ESPN.com, 1/20). In Portland, Allan Brettman wrote the new Nike ad's debut is "a stroke of timing that, depending on your perspective, is lucky genius or tragi-comedy" (OREGONLIVE.com, 1/20). NBC Sports Network’s Ross Tucker said of Sherman, “He is a marketing genius. He is by far the most well-known Seattle Seahawk. Not easy to do up there in the Pacific Northwest.” NBC Sports Network’s Shaun King noted that Sherman is "about to get paid” because Sherman is “self-marketing.” King: “This is a guy who played wide receiver in the beginning of his career at Stanford. He went to Seattle and no one knew who he was until he started talking” (“PFT,” NBCSN, 1/20).

BIG SHOT IN THE BIG APPLE: In Rochester, Leo Roth writes Sherman for Super Bowl XLVIII "marches into New York the talk of the town," thanks to his interview that will either earn Andrews "a raise or put her into therapy" (ROCHESTER DEMOCRAT & CHRONICLE, 1/21). In N.Y., Mike Lupica writes under the header, "Seahawks' Richard Sherman, Love Him Or Hate Him, Is Already The Face Of Super Bowl XLVIII." Sherman with his interview "did what a lot of modern athletes only dream about doing: Made the whole thing about him, even if he spent a lot of the next day apologizing for doing that by attacking" 49ers WR Michael Crabtree. The Andrews interview and Sherman's tipped pass leading to a game-ending interception, "all the official beginning of the first Super Bowl Week New York has ever had" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/21). ESPN's Keith Olbermann said, "Sherman is already well aware that he is now the storyline going into the maw of the Super Bowl weeks" ("Olbermann," ESPN2, 1/20). CBS' Don Dahler said, "If you didn’t know Richard Sherman before Sunday's game, chances are you do now" ("CBS This Morning," CBS, 1/21). On Long Island, Bob Glauber writes, "America, say hello to Richard Sherman. You'll be seeing -- and hearing -- a lot from him" (NEWSDAY, 1/21). ESPN's Stan Verrett: "The Super Bowl is heading to the media capital of the world, where Sherman will no doubt be positioned as the yang to Peyton Manning's yin" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 1/21).

HERO OR VILLAIN?
In San Jose, Marcus Thompson writes under the header, "Don't Try To Change Richard Sherman." Thompson: "Don't let liberty of his tongue shock you into casting him as a degenerate" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 1/21). CSNBAYAREA.com's Ray Ratto writes Sherman is "available in three sizes -- admirable, repellent and fascinating, and they all come with the platinum volume knob, standard, that goes all the way to 11" (CSNBAYAREA.com, 1/21). In Cincinnati, Paul Daugherty writes those in the media "live for Richard Sherman Moments, those rare reality tangents when players actually say what they’re thinking. When we get them, we turn their authors into hamburger meat." But Daugherty asks, "Is it too much to expect a professional to act like one?" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 1/21). In San Jose, Jon Wilner writes Sherman is "usually refreshingly candid in a cliché-dominated sports-media culture." But "occasionally, Sherman's internal braking system malfunctions and the massive chip on his shoulder ... is exposed for the world to see" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 1/21). In Austin, Cedric Golden writes, "Be thankful that Sherman and his Legion of Boom brethren are comfortable with the villain’s role because the whole world outside of the Pacific Northwest has most certainly aligned itself with Peyton Manning’s Broncos for the Super Bowl" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 1/21). NBC's Carson Daly said of Sherman's rant, "It's like he went to the Kanye West school of communications or something." NBC's Matt Lauer said the interview was "in the heat of the moment" and that "didn't bother me as much as the choke gesture." Lauer: "There wasn't one player on either team that choked in that game. They played their hearts out, guys being carted off on stretchers" ("Today," NBC, 1/21).

CAN'T-MISS TV: In Ft. Worth, Mac Engel writes Sherman has joined Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones "in understanding the rules of the arena better than most. It's a show." Sherman "clearly grasps that the NFL is merely reality TV," and characters like Sherman and Jones "only make it more interesting and themselves more bankable" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 1/21). In Orlando, Shannon Owens writes, "I pity the fool who couldn't laugh" at Sherman's comments in his postgame interview. Owens asks, "Is Richard Sherman in danger of becoming the next media villain like Terrell Owens?" Shannon Owens: "Sherman's rant was classless, and I'm OK with that" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 1/21). In Philadelphia, Sam Donnellon writes of Sherman's interview, "My 20-something sons loved all of it. I would have been OK with it too if not for the taunts that preceded it." Sherman was "all over the map explaining it all afterwards ... claiming he was slighted by Crabtree at a party last year, or by some innocuous quote." It "sounded like rationalization, an attempt to salvage any marketability he might still have" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 1/21). In Jacksonville, Gene Frenette wrote it is "not enough to win the game," as athletes "must glorify themselves by winning the smack talk, too" (JACKSONVILLE.com, 1/20).
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