Sochi Olympics: Companies Already on the Prowl for Future Pitchmen
(NEW YORK) -- U.S. slopestyle snowboarder Sage Kotsenburg just won Olympic gold on Saturday, and companies are already expressing interest in signing him up for endorsement deals. Robert Tuchman, president of sports and entertainment marketing company Goviva, said he has already fielded calls from three different companies inquiring about the 20-year-old snowboarder, who was a relative unknown just last week.
Olympic "rookies" could make as much as $250,000 to $500,000 for major endorsement deals, Tuchman said. Tuchman, who declined to reveal the names of his Fortune 1000 clients, said the companies that expressed interest are food-based consumer product manufacturers in beverages and snacks. The firms are inquiring about pricing options for complete endorsement deals for advertising campaigns and marketing event appearances, he said.
"They want to strike now while the iron is hot," Tuchman said.
With only a few days into the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, companies are likely actively courting athletes who have barely started competing. Tuchman said alpine skier Mikaela Shiffrin and Gracie Gold, who already each have their own Sports Illustrated covers, are among the up-and-coming athletes with the best opportunities in endorsements if they have "solid" performances at the Olympics.
"They are definitely being closely watched by companies interested in having an Olympian endorse their product," Tuchman said. "Both have everything a brand could want. Now they just need to perform well."
The companies that are ready to make deals are often large family-friendly brands, including McDonald's, Kraft Foods Group and Procter & Gamble Co.
But as the new talent is ushered in, it's out with the old -- at least if the "old" don't win medals or reach high scores.
Speedskater Shani Davis, 31, appearing for the fourth time in the Olympics, has had deals with AT&T, McDonald's, Ralph Lauren, Deloitte and United Airlines. Though he has two gold medals and two silver medals under his belt, the Chicago native finished 24th in the 500-meter long-track race on Monday.
Snowboarder Shaun White, 27, the two-time Olympic gold medalist who pulled out of his slopestyle event on Saturday, has had a deal with BFGoodrich Tires and snow gear company Burton.
Skier Bode Miller, 36, has worked with Austrian ski company Atomic and mega-sports gear company Nike.
Tuchman said deals for those three athletes can range from $500,000 to $1 million.
They "need to have good showings to extend their deals with their companies," Tuchman said. "If they do, they will solidify their names with Olympic greats like [swimmers] Michael Phelps, Mark Spitz and [ice hockey player] Mike Eruzione. This insures a lifetime of endorsement opportunities for them."
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