SBD/February 21, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

Agent For Michael Sam Not Planning On Any Big Deals Until After NFL Draft Day

Sam earlier this week inked a deal with five trading card companies
For Empire Athletes agent Joe Barkett, who reps NFL Draft prospect Michael Sam, the past few weeks have "been a constant battle of fielding calls not only from journalists, but also from brands and companies that want to sign his client in order to target the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community," according to Mark Burns of SPORTING NEWS. But despite "all of the attention for Sam, Barkett isn't making any kneejerk decisions -- at least in the short term." Barkett said, "At this point, we don’t want Mike doing any of that because we think it sends the wrong message. ... Once he gets drafted and once he signs his contract and starts playing in the league, we can start looking at those a little bit more. Mike is a rookie right now, and he still needs to prove himself at the next level.” In an effort to "market to the untapped gay community, smart brands will focus on Sam's excellence on the field while keeping their message relevant to the general market of consumers." But there still are a "number of variables on the table that will dictate Sam's future earning potential: what team drafts him, the market he plays in, how he fits within a brand's marketing portfolio and, potentially the most telling factor, how he performs on the field." GMR Marketing Exec VP/Client Management Tyson Webber said that if Sam was a guaranteed top-5 selection, there "might already have been a deal in place." But his draft position "still is an unknown." Barkett said that it will "be a few months before any big money follows Sam" (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 2/20). While Sam is waiting on signing larger endorsement deals, he did sign with five trading card companies earlier in the week (THE DAILY).
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