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Volume 26 No. 207
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Lamar Jackson Poised To Grow Brand Portfolio In Breakout Season

Jackson's MVP-level play this season has come as no major national companies currently sponsor him
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Jackson's MVP-level play this season has come as no major national companies currently sponsor him
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Jackson's MVP-level play this season has come as no major national companies currently sponsor him
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Ravens QB Lamar Jackson currently only appears in ads "for Ravens games," but industry experts believe what "makes him a dynamic quarterback ... might also make him a dynamic pitchman" for brands, according to Jonas Shaffer of the BALTIMORE SUN. Burns Entertainment & Sports Marketing President Doug Shabelman said Jackson is "definitely a superstar in the making." Shabelman: "He'd be the perfect pitch person, as long as he wants to do that." As Jackson has played like an MVP candidate this season, his "national acclaim and social media profile growing by the week, no companies have been along for the ride." Jackson has a "clothing line, Era 8 Apparel, which he launched last year and promotes tirelessly on Instagram," but he is "otherwise unaffiliated, a branding free agent." Jackson last week said he is open to corporate sponsorships if they "come to me correct and we talk the right numbers." Jackson is "managed by his mother, Felicia Jones, an unconventional arrangement that some marketing experts say could deter corporate interest." But given industry licensing rates, Jackson could "earn more in apparel sales through his own clothing shingle than through a sportswear giant like Adidas." There also is value in having what Univ. of North Carolina assistant professor of sports administration Jonathan Jensen "called an 'uncluttered portfolio.'" Jensen: "In the future, somebody could come in, really do a groundbreaking campaign with him and not have to worry about a lot of noise from other sponsors" (BALTIMORE SUN, 11/25).

TAKING IT SLOW: Jackson said that he is "not opposed to following the path of other NFL quarterbacks by signing with one of the big names in apparel, like Nike, Adidas or Under Armour." Jackson: "But for now, it's wild dog, Era 8 Apparel, and we're going to keep it going as that." In Pennsylvania, Aaron Kasinitz writes in the meantime, marketing execs will "remain curious about Jackson for a variety of reasons." There is his "unique style of play; he's on pace to break the single-season record for rushing yards as a quarterback." There is his "youth; at 22, he's firmly a member of Generation Z with a large following on Instagram." Additionally, there is his "desire to keep a close circle" (PENNLIVE.com, 11/25).