Pelé Still Bringing In New Endorsements Ahead Of World Cup, With Puma Deal On Horizon
Despite his "stature as one of history's greatest and most popular athletes, Pelé and a new team of handlers have been scrambling to reverse decades of mismanagement and bad business deals, shoring up a formidable brand in time to bask in the spotlight of international sports when it shines on Brazil" during the World Cup, according to Futterman & Johnson of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Pelé currently has deals with Hublot, Banco Santander, Subway and Volkswagen. His manager said that a new licensing deal with Puma "is in the works." Imagine Entertainment later this year "hopes to release a feature film" about Pelé's childhood and emergence and a Pelé museum "is about to open in Santos, featuring all of the memorabilia that the famous pack-rat never sold." However, despite his current deals, Pelé "has stumbled in his career as a businessman and entrepreneur." A construction company "went bust," and while Café Pelé "is one of the world's best-known coffee products ... its namesake reaps little from it, the result of a bad deal cut long ago by a former manager." Legends 10 CEO Paul Kemsley, whose firm reps Pele, said, "He's been getting abused for 40 years." Kemsley said that Legends 10 "will attract" nearly $30M in endorsement and licensing revenues this year, and "has secured" roughly $100M worth of contractual commitments. Pelé "owns one-third of the company, which is pursuing a second round of fundraising." Hublot CEO Ricardo Guadalupe, whose company's endorsement deals typically go to younger athletes like Usain Bolt and Kobe Bryant, said, "We talk to the young generations through Pele" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 5/7).