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Volume 20 No. 42
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Dempsey scores with new watch

In another sign of Clint Dempsey’s growing stature as an endorser, the Deuce Limited Edition watch arrives in stores internationally this week.

The Deuce — Dempsey wears No. 2 for Tottenham Hotspur of the English Premier League — is made by California-based Jorg Gray. The watches are limited to 1,002 in distribution (a further “deuce” play). They sell for $795 and are available in U.S. and European jewelry stores and on the Jorg Gray website.

Jorg Gray is producing the Deuce Limited Edition.
Photo by: JORG GRAY
All of Dempsey’s endorsement deals have been made by his representatives at James Grant Sports, which also brokered Dempsey’s move this summer from Fulham to Tottenham, a change that came with a $10 million transfer fee.

In addition to his deal to be a brand ambassador for Jorg Gray through 2013, Dempsey — a member of the U.S. men’s national team, as well — has partnerships with Nike, Crown Imports (for the Mexican beer Modelo Especial), Pepsi and Upper Deck that run through the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. His relationship with Nike began with his rookie season in MLS in 2004. All of Dempsey’s other deals were signed in the last 18 months.

The agency would not divulge financial details of his marketing partnerships, but Lyle Yorks, a former pro soccer player and now the global managing director of the soccer group at James Grant Sports, said the 29-year-old Dempsey could have even more

business if he so chooses.

“There are two big hurdles: his schedule and his determination to only be with brands he can be personally vested in,” said Yorks, whose agency represents more than 100 soccer players across the United States and Europe. “Between Tottenham and his national team commitments, he doesn’t get home to Texas much. When he has time, he wants to be with his family or relaxing.”

Executives at Jorg Gray — an American watch company in a market filled with European brands — liked the idea of a link with Dempsey, an American soccer player finding success on a global stage. They also were impressed by Dempsey’s practical approach to endorsements.

“At our first meeting, Clint told us his credo was ‘Family, Faith, Football, Fishing,’” said Jorg Gray COO Damian Want. “He didn’t want to be an athlete who just does a few photo shoots and calls it a partnership. He wanted to have a lot of input into his own watch brand.”

Dempsey was deeply involved in the crafting of the Deuce, sharing his opinions and suggestions via email and in meetings in England. The product is being promoted with full-page ads in magazines including Men’s Fitness, Outdoor, Details, Playboy and Top Gear. Dempsey’s deal with Jorg Gray calls for personal appearances and social media tie-ins.

“We expect the watch to sell out fairly quickly,” said Want, whose brand also has deals with MotoGP racer Ben Spies and IndyCar driver Alex Tagliani. “We feel like, with this partnership, we are on the front edge of soccer’s incredible growth in the U.S.”

At Soccer United Marketing, the marketing arc of MLS, where Dempsey played for the New England Revolution for three years, there is little surprise over his rising profile.

“Companies recognize that Clint is a special talent,” said David Wright, SUM’s senior vice president, global sponsorship. “He’s a player who has the ‘it’ factor. … Clint steps up in the big games, as you can see from his play with both club and country, and often that’s what brands want to align with.”