SBJ/September 12-18, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Swimmer Lochte adds Gillette, Ralph Lauren

Editor's note: This story is revised from the print edition.

A month after winning five events at the FINA World Championships, Ryan Lochte has agreed to represent Gillette and Ralph Lauren in their marketing around the London Olympics.

Gillette did a shoot with Lochte in China after the swimming world championships and plans to make him one of two athletes featured in TV and print advertisements and at retail during the Olympics, said Lochte’s agent, Erika Wright of Wright Entertainment & Sports. Ralph Lauren has agreed to terms on a deal with the swimmer that will see him featured prominently in the company’s Olympic marketing, Wright said.

GETTY IMAGES
A successful summer has helped swimmer Ryan Lochte add to his endorsement portfolio.
Terms of the deals were not available, but industry sources valued the endorsements in the high six figures to low seven figures. Gillette declined to comment, and Ralph Lauren did not return calls seeking comment by press time.

The agreements come three years after Lochte left Octagon, which represented him in the run-up to the 2008 Beijing Games. He subsequently signed with Wright, an attorney and former Miss America runner-up who works with her husband’s music management company, which has worked with ’N Sync, the Backstreet Boys, Justin Timberlake, Ciara and others.

Since signing Lochte, Wright has expanded his portfolio from a deal with Speedo to include Mutual of Omaha, Gatorade and now Gillette and Ralph Lauren. Wright said that Lochte will sign only one or two more endorsement deals before the London Games begin next July. She added that she already has turned down some agreements.

“At this point, we have the impression there’s not much more room for many more sponsors in an Olympic year,” she said. “Right now, he has three major partners and does charity work, and it’s not worth $600,000 or $700,000 for him to make 15 appearances, because his goal is to compete in London.”

In addition to appearing in Gillette and Ralph Lauren campaigns, Lochte this year will launch his own line of apparel through Speedo.
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