SBD/March 7, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

Manziel Signs Multiyear Deal With Nike, Will Be Highest Paid Rookie Of '14 Class

NFL Draft prospect Johnny Manziel has signed an endorsement deal with Nike, giving them the ability to "outfit his feet and use him in marketing campaigns," according to Darren Rovell of ESPN.com. Financial terms were not disclosed, but sources said that it is "a multiyear deal that will be the highest price paid for a rookie in this year's class." adidas, Under Armour and New Balance's Warrior brand "all submitted bids for Manziel's marketing rights." Although his "future prospects are far from certain, Manziel is the prize rookie of this year's class" (ESPN.com, 3/6). PRO FOOTBALL TALK's Mike Florio noted while Manziel’s football abilities "at the NFL level are unknown, Nike is betting on Manziel performing well enough to become a star." Florio: "Then again, he already is" (PROFOOTBALLTALK.com, 3/6). ESPN's Sara Walsh said, "Johnny Football is now Johnny Swoosh" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 3/7).

A PERFECT FIT? ESPN's Stephen A. Smith said Nike's "Just Do It" slogan "personifies" Manziel." Smith added, "Nike is known for really endorsing ... renegades. They like people with a little bit of bad boy attached to them." ESPN's Skip Bayless said Nike "will recoup its investment in Johnny Manziel before next season even starts," as Manziel has a "high 'it' factor on and off the field" ("First Take," ESPN2, 3/7). However, Fox Sports Radio's Dan Patrick wondered if fans care which company Manziel signed with. Patrick: "It's not really marketing football shoes, because how many of those are you going to sell? I think this is just the brand, you're under the umbrella with Nike there. If LeBron is running your marketing company, it's not like you're going to adidas" ("The Dan Patrick Show," Fox Sports Radio, 3/7).
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