A Reuters story out of Beijing says Michael Phelps could rake in $30 million in endorsements. Not too shabby.
“In the short term, he is a gold mine because he represents everything that is pure, young, strong and visionary about America. We haven’t had anyone of this significance since Mark Spitz,” Eli Portnoy, chief brand strategist at the Portnoy Group, a U.S. consultancy specialized in branding, said in the article.
“Guaranteed there will be marketers wanting a piece of him that make no sense and it will interesting to see how his handlers cope with this and if they get greedy because the Olympics has a narrow avenue of marketability.”
Phelps already represents Visa, among many companies. And the Wall Street Journal says Visa is now hunting for the next batch of athletes who we’ll see splashed across magazines, billboards and television sets.
As the head of global sponsorship management at Visa Inc., (Michael) Lynch seeks out Olympic athletes to represent the brand. The company has sponsored U.S. Olympic athletes for more than 20 years, from decathletes to skiers, and now has deals with 15 U.S. athletes in sports such as track and field, snowboarding, BMX racing, gymnastics and swimming. It sponsors beach volleyball player Kerri Walsh and gymnast Nastia Liukin. It also has deals with more than 70 international athletes.