SBJ/Sept. 20-26, 2010/In-Depth

Endorsement comings and goings from the past 12 months

Ben RoethlisbergerJared Wickerham
Ben Roethlisberger’s off-the-field troubles cost him on the marketing front.
The world of player endorsements, the past 12 months may be remembered more for deals that unraveled than deals that were signed. Presented here is a timeline of notable player-brand relationships that were in the news during the past year.

New Deals

DECEMBER 2009: Topps signs Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg to a multiyear agreement that grants the trading card company exclusive rights to autographed Strasburg cards and game-used memorabilia cards.

JANUARY2010: Nike signs tennis player Maria Sharapova to an eight-year, $70 million sponsorship extension. The deal includes a line of dresses designed by Sharapova, and she will receive a percentage of those sales.

FEBRUARY 2010: McDonald’s reaches a multiyear deal with LeBron James, who later in the year delivers his much-anticipated decision to join the Miami Heat.

FEBRUARY 2010: Nike signs top NFL prospect Ndamukong Suh.

FEBRUARY 2010: Adidas signs a lifetime contract with 22-year-old Serbian tennis player Ana Ivanovic, the youngest athlete to sign such an agreement with the company.

FEBRUARY 2010: Under Armour signs swimmer Michael Phelps to a multiyear endorsement deal for outside-the-pool training. The deal will extend beyond the 2012 London Olympics.

APRIL 2010: Nike signs a seven-year extension with LeBron James. Terms were not disclosed but his original seven-year contract with Nike, signed in 2003, was worth $93 million.

JUNE 2010: Reebok signs Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby to a deal for between five and seven years worth $1.4 million per season.

JUNE 2010: Reebok signs No. 1 overall NBA draft pick John Wall to a five-year, $25 million deal.
Evan Turner

JULY 2010: Panini America signs No. 2 NBA draft pick Evan Turner (below) giving them exclusive rights to use the player’s autograph in card products.
Evan Turner
JULY 2010: Russell Athletic signs Cleveland Browns third-round draft pick Colt McCoy to a multiyear deal for all of Russell’s brands including Spalding, Bike and Russell Outdoors.

JULY 2010: Jockey International signs Denver Broncos rookie Tim Tebow to a three-year agreement that is believed to be much larger than the player’s recently signed EA Sports and Nike deals.

JULY 2010: Red Bull signs a deal with San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum.

AUGUST 2010: Puma signs a four-year extension with Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, worth a reported $40 million.


Parting ways

WINTER 2009-10: AT&T, Accenture, Gatorade and Buick each drop Tiger Woods from their endorsement roster following the golfer’s admission of marital infidelity. Watchmaker Tag Heuer downscales a similar deal.

JANUARY 2010: Adidas ends its endorsement of Gilbert Arenas after the Washington Wizards guard pleads guilty to a felony gun charge.

APRIL 2010: PLB Sports, which marketed “Big Ben Beef Jerky” for Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, terminates its five-year business relationship with the player after details of Roethlisberger’s encounter with a 20-year-old college student emerge. That same month, Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium replaces Roethlisberger’s image on a display with one of hockey great Mario Lemieux.

MAY 2010: The Boston Celtics’ Kevin Garnett opts out of his Adidas lifetime contract and signs a multiyear deal with ANTA Sports Products, a China-based sporting goods company.

MAY 2010: Nutrisystem ends its deal with Lawrence Taylor following the Pro Football Hall of Famer’s arrest on rape charges.

JULY 2010: Under Armour terminates its short-lived relationship with Dallas Cowboys rookie wide receiver Dez Bryant after the player shows up at Cowboys training camp wearing Nike shoes.

SEPTEMBER 2010: Reebok decides against finalizing its proposed endorsement deal with New England Patriots rookie Brandon Spikes after a sexually explicit video of the player emerges on the Internet.

SEPTEMBER 2010: AT&T and Reebok terminate deals with Floyd Mayweather Jr. after the boxer releases a 10-minute Internet video diatribe against fighter Manny Pacquiao, in which Mayweather makes racist and homophobic remarks.

Source: SportsBusiness Journal research
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