SBD/August 25, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

Marketers Debate Earnings Potential Of Mo'Ne Davis Following LLWS Success

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Mo'Ne Davis' stepfather has rebuffed an inquiry about a potential book deal
Female LLWS P Mo'ne Davis "has a trip planned for a round of talk show appearances," and one of the questions already being asked is whether Davis should "try to cash in on her celebrity," according to Longman & Eder of the N.Y. TIMES. Sports marketing experts "agree that Davis and her family must decide quickly." But "few athletes face such significant decisions at such a young age," and estimates on Davis' earning potential "vary widely." It is also "unclear whether the acceptance of money would compromise Davis’s amateur status and eligibility to play high school sports at the private school she attends in Philadelphia." Davis' stepfather Mark Williams said that he "had rebuffed an inquiry about a potential book deal." Burns Entertainment President Doug Shabelman said that Davis "might be able to earn $5,000 to $25,000 from a sports drink deal." Shabelman: "It was a great little run, but there’s not going to be vast money from this unless she gets a movie done about her or a TV show, which is very unlikely." But other experts "estimated that Davis’s earning potential could be much higher, perhaps $100,000 a year alone from a shoe and apparel deal, and that, in the right circumstances, she might be able to pay for college without needing an athletic scholarship." Baker Street Advertising Senior VP & Exec Creative Dir Bob Dorfman said that he thought Davis "could earn up to $500,000 as a teenage role model endorsing products from sports drinks to cellphones, computers, school supplies and fashion" (N.Y. TIMES, 8/23). MLB Network’s Dan Plesac said Davis' autograph and signature have "some value," and this "isn’t a little thing.” MLB Network's Chris Rose noted a Davis-signed baseball recently sold on eBay for $510. Rose: "The unfortunate thing is she can't capitalize financially. ... Because she eventually wants to play baseball or basketball somewhere down the road, she would lose her eligibility if she were to go to college. She can’t reap the reward, and that’s the unfortunate thing" (“Intentional Talk,” MLB Network, 8/22).

FEMALES' 15 MINUTES: In DC, Sally Jenkins wrote for "all of the American male self-congratulation for treating Davis as an 'athlete' instead of a girl, the fact is that Davis’s ability to command sports media attention post-puberty, and thus ever make a living on her talent, is highly in doubt and subject to their apathy." Davis appeared on the cover of SI "because a man deemed her unrepulsive enough to put her there." But had she been playing "against other girls, instead of boys, they never would have wasted a thought on her" (WASHINGTON POST, 8/23).
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