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Next for Michael Phelps: Marketing gold?

August 19, 2008

Now that Michael Phelps is done racing for gold medals in Beijing, he and his agent are racing to transform those gold medals into marketing dollars.

There is a sense of urgency to lock up marketing opportunities now because the so-called Phelps Phans probably won’t see the swimmer in a pool again until 2012, according to a story in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal.

Phelps has plenty of opportunities to choose from right now, the Journal said. Those include several book and movie deals, a dog-food idea (Phelps loves his British bulldog, Herman, you know), bobblehead dolls, acrylic paintings, commemorative coins, car rims, tuxedos and more.

His agent, Peter Carlisle, was getting around five marketing offers for Phelps per day when the Olympics began. Now he’s getting about 50 calls a day, according to the Journal.

“I’ve been doing this for a while, and I didn’t think I’d be super-surprised at what was going to happen here,” Carlisle, a managing director with Octagon Inc., told the Journal. “But I am actually.”

A key decision for Phelps will be whether to renew his contract with Speedo or sign with another swimwear company, Howard Bloom, who teaches sports management at Algonquin College and has worked with several Olympic athletes, was quoted as saying.

Michael Phelps would be worth $40 or $50 million to Nike,” the Journal quoted Bloom as saying. “He could literally allow them to launch a massive swimwear company, and I think you are going to see an incredible bidding war for him.”

And that would just be from one marketing deal.

“What is the value of eight golds in Beijing before a prime-time audience in the U.S?” Carlisle asked. “I’d say $100 million over the course of his lifetime.” –- Compiled by Erik Battenberg for Tactics and The Strategist Online



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