Player endorsements through NFL Players trending upward
That amount is on pace to be an increase over last year, when NFL Players Inc., the NFL Players Association’s marketing and licensing arm, helped drive deals that paid players $31 million over 12 months, said NFL Players President Keith Gordon. The group’s fiscal year ends Feb. 28.
Gordon would not project a total amount for the current year that would be paid to players, but he noted that 10 percent to 15 percent of all appearances coordinated by NFL Players typically occur during Super Bowl week and that demand for player deals could increase this year because of the 2014 Super Bowl’s location in the New York area.
NFL Players helps sponsors identify which players to use to activate their deals with the league and reaches out to the players and their marketing representatives. Players’ marketing agents negotiate the deals for them, but NFL Players may negotiate the deals if the player doesn’t have a marketing representative.
The deals vary in size from one-off appearances and speaking engagements to national commercials. The group recently helped McDonald’s with national commercials featuring Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco, San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick and New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz. Representing the players in their agreements with McDonald’s were Tom Kleine of JL Sports (Flacco), Scott Smith and Shawn Smith of XAM Sports (Kaepernick), and Carlos Fleming of IMG (Cruz).
NFL Players has been involved in such deals for players for years, but there has been an added focus over the past few years on helping sponsors find players, Gordon said. The $31 million figure for the fiscal year ended Feb. 28, 2013, was up 18 percent from the previous year.
NFL Players has also recently hired Steven Scebelo as vice president of licensing and business development. He was formerly vice president of licensing at the NBA and MLB. Additionally, the group promoted Ahmad Nassar to executive vice president of business affairs and general counsel, and hired Ricky Medina as senior manager of business development. Scebelo and Nassar report to Gordon, and Medina reports to Scebelo.
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