Unless you have been living under a rock, you've probably already heard of the 15-year-old tennis sensation Cori "Coco" Gauff. Who has made Wimbledon look like her local tennis court, with the way she has dominated the field.
Unfortunately, this Cinderella story ended when Coco lost in her fourth-round match to Simona Halep. This, however, seems to be the beginning of a very successful - and profitable - career for the American tennis star.
Gauff is slated to make her first million this year through Roger Federer's TEAM8 agency which has helped her reach deals with New Balance, Head (another apparel company), and Barilla (pasta maker).
"Without doubt, she has the potential to be the highest paid sportswoman ever and it has been a crown waiting for someone to grab hold of for the last 10 years," said Nigel Curry, a former joint chairman of the European Sponsorship Association.
"At the moment you would be talking about earnings of $50 million a year as the dominant player in the women’s game, but if Gauff wins multiple Grand Slams and dominates you could probably double that."
Curry, like myself, believes that there is incredible potential for young sports phenoms to create ridiculous wealth from endorsement deals in this golden age of social media.
"What Serena [Williams] has been earning will be eclipsed because Gauff is part of the generation that uses social media so frequently and sponsors will love to get on board with someone who has such a big impact and millions of followers," Curry added.
It truly has become an age where all endorsements involve some form of social media marketing. Just look at Bryce Harper, who was the centerpiece for an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer this past weekend, about how he has leveraged his personal brand to market companies off the field.
Harper has been in the national spotlight since he appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated as a 16-year-old in June of 2009. Even before that, Harper's star began to glow on YouTube with videos of him launching 500-foot home runs at Tropicana Field during a high school showcase event.
Today, the $330-million-man has 12 active endorsement deals, most of which are non-baseball related.
"I see him as one of the only people in baseball to actually be an influencer," said Spencer Hawkins, a footwear designer for Under Armour.
Both Harper and Gauff share similar qualities in the fact that they both were highly touted and experienced vast success at a young age. Making both extremely marketable and highly sought after for endorsement deals.
Wouldn't it be great to discover a Bryce Harper or Coco Gauff before they become a household name?
With Prime Sponsor, we feel that can be possible. You see, Prime Sponsor's e-commerce style site allows for athletes and agents (no matter the level) to sell their sponsorship inventory.
Creating sponsorship opportunities no longer has to be a difficult process. Whether you have the next 'Coco Gauff' or an established star like a Bryce Harper.
Image via: cocogauff/Instagram
Shohei Ohtani, the 'other' superstar for the LA Angels, has added just as much value on the field as he has off the field.
It was reported by the LA Times that, since his arrival in Los Angels, Ohtani has opened the door for the Angels to ink six new sponsorship deals with Japanese brands.
"We’ve had several six-figure sponsorship deals," said Angels president John Carpino.
Attendance for the Angels has shot up tremendously and the team sold more Ohtani jerseys than they did Mike Trout jerseys in 2018.
To put this into context, Ohtani was paid the standard MLB rookie salary of $545,000 last season. Additionally, the Angels also paid him a signing bonus of $2.3 million and paid the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters $20 million for his rights over the next 6 years.
What was a $20-million gamble in 2017, has paid off for the Angels in the short term. And likely will continue to pay off over the next five years...on and off the field.
Certainly, there was - and still is - tremendous hype around the 24-year-old slugger from Japan. He clubbed 22 home runs and drove in 61 RBIs in his rookie season for LA...eventually leading to the AL Rookie of the Year award.
Ohtani - known as Japan's Bath Ruth for his unique ability to hit and pitch at the professional level - also appeared in ten games for the Angels in 2018. Going 4-2 with a 3.31 ERA. (Ohtani has not pitched in 2019 due to an arm industry sustained in 2018...he may return to the mound in 2020).
This 2019 Angels lineup has fed off Ohtani's energy and presence since he returned 40 games into the first half of his season. He's already more than halfway to his home run total from 2018.
Image credit: flickr.com
There was a little bit of a stir when Tiger Woods showed up to Pebble Beach last weekend with KT Tape on the back of his neck once again.
KT Tape is otherwise known as Kinesio Tape. A stretchy tape athletes use to relieve pain while supporting ligaments, tendons, and muscles.
This was a clear indicator that something wasn't right. Obviously, any inkling of injury to Woods' neck or back is cause for concern.
Woods noted that his back was feeling achy and the colder temperatures do not help with any soreness he acquires from hitting shot after shot in a major event.
“My back impacts every shot I play – it’s just part of the deal,” Woods said. “Let me put it this way: I feel every shot I hit. I think that’s always going to be the case from here going forward.
“It’s all the same,” Woods added. “It’s been like that for years. The forces have to go somewhere. And if they’re not in the lower back, they’re in the neck. And if not, they’re in the mid-back. And if not, they go to the knee. You name it.”
The reason I reference Woods using KT Tape is because this same scenario occurred during the 2018 Open Championship. To my knowledge, Woods is not sponsored by KT Tape, but by merely wearing it on his neck, the slightly visible tape drew close to $4 million in media value.
If you take notice, Nike athletes on the PGA Tour do not wear additional logos on their shirts or hats. It’s always Nike.
Nike athletes like Woods, Brooks Koepka, and Jason Day sign exclusive apparel, footwear, and hat deals with the iconic brand. Nike’s deal with these athletes covers the compensation they would receive if they decided to mix-and-match other brand’s logos on their hats, shirts, and footwear.
So, it is nearly impossible to get any logo other than Nike on the body of golf’s most polarizing athlete: Tiger Woods. But KT Tape somehow made their way on the back of Woods’ neck during the 2018 Open Championship.
According to ESPN reporter Darren Rovell, Woods generated $3.96 million in equivalent advertising from the logos on tape.
It wasn’t just the television-air time but the press coverage as well. KT Tape’s story was featured in thousands of publications, including Golf Magazine (Golf.com), Golf Digest, and ESPN.
Twitter and Instagram also exploded with people posting photos, videos, and creating a buzz. Everyone had to know what was wrong with Tiger Woods and why he had this mysterious tape on the back of his neck.
According to KT Tape’s Chief Marketing Officer Russ Schleiden, the website traffic that afternoon exceeded 300 percent. All because two little strips of tape could be seen on the back of Woods’ neck.
The NBA took a real leap of faith when they implemented jersey sponsorships a few years ago.
Old-schoolers will tell you it's not good for the game. That it'll look tacky or too commercialized. But the numbers behind the 2.5 x 2.5-inch patches do not lie....these sponsorships were worth every cent.
It was reported this week that Navigate, a sports and entertainment research firm, analyzed five NBA jersey sponsorship deals to see their true value. Not surprising, each (originally valued between $3-7 million) was valued well above their annual fee.
In that same report, GumGum sports proclaimed the dynasty Golden State Warriors generated north of $40 million for their jersey sponsor, Rakuten.
The Warriors only generated $3.9 million from team-operated social media accounts. The remaining $36.1 million was generated through additional social media outlets and television.
From the outside looking in, it's hard to envision such a small patch having a multi-million dollar impact. But Matt Balvanz, Senior Vice President of Analytics at Navigate, summed it up perfectly on why there is such a significant impact.
“Jersey patches are unique because people are always taking pictures of players, teams are posting highlights of players, and there’s all this focus on the players with the one brand tagged to them," he explained.
Going back to the idea of the sponsor logo looking tacky or over commercialized, I'd like to point out that Warriors' jersey sales have not wavered in the slightest.
"We have not seen one level of drop off in an in-store purchase or an in-team purchase because people were 'trying to avoid the badge'," Vice President of Corporate Partnerships, Mike Kitts, said. “In fact, we’re seeing 100 percent great adoption of it.
"If you want to look at the KPIs, that’s a huge success. And then the economics that far surpassed everybody’s expectations. So I think all of those successes aggregated tell us that this program is here to stay for the long-term."
So until it happens, I will continue to advocate for the NFL, MLB, and NHL to jump into the jersey sponsorship pool. A few weeks ago it was reported in a piece by Sports Illustrated that the NFL could rake in an additional $200-plus million from jersey sponsorship deals.
One of the hurdles will be making certain these logos do not look tacky. For example, the Rakuten logo on the Warriors' jerseys looks like it should be there since it blends in with the team's color scheme.
Have a look at the mockup I did for Bryce Harper and Carson Wentz...if you can't tell already I am a Philly guy.
Notice how the color schemes of the logos blend in with each uniform. Obviously, these are mockups so there is a level of tackiness to these. But if implemented correctly, I don't see how fans, or people around the game in general, would have an issue with these sponsorship activations.
The color you choose for your brand's logo is more significant than you might imagine. Your color scheme subconsciously tells your consumer more about you than the name of your company.
Similar to non-verbal communication, your brand's logo will evoke a specific reaction based solely on the colors you choose. For example, a logo with the primary color of red demands attention and suggests your company is powerful or full of energy. This has worked for power-house companies like Netflix, Coca-Cola, and Target (which I'm sure the color red just appeared in your head when you read those company names).
Each color tells the consumer what your brand is made of on the inside, once they are past the name. But when it comes to sports sponsorship, what I am about to tell you is going to challenge everything we just talked about...
When it comes to sponsoring team sports, brands should forget about their colors and adopt those of the team they are sponsoring.
This is not a joke.
You're probably saying to yourself, "well what good is it to evoke 'emotion' with colors in my logo? I thought that was important?!"
And you're not wrong, color placement in your logo is very important. But a recent study conducted by Conor M. Henderson, Marc Mazodier, and Aparna Sundar in the May issue of the Journal of Marketing ("The Color of Support: The Effect of Sponsor-Team Visual Congruence on Sponsorship Performance") concluded that it is in the best interest of the brand to adopt team colors for a sponsorship.
A perfect example for this scenario is the jersey sponsor deal between Philadelphia 76ers and StubHub.