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PEOPLE: Injury may threaten endorsement deals

Courier-Post, September 18, 2008

He has qualities that make marketers salivate: rugged good looks, three Super Bowl rings and a glamorous lifestyle with a supermodel girlfriend.

But a season-ending knee injury Sept. 7 for New England Patriots golden boy Tom Brady has tarnished his star, at least temporarily. The lack of on-the-field visibility and questions about his future could call a timeout on his prospects for new endorsement deals, say sports marketing experts.

Current sponsors are voicing support. But while he recovers, new ads, new contracts and expansion of current deals could be sidelined.

"Just like he's on the shelf for the team, he's also on the shelf for the companies he's endorsing," says Jim Andrews, editorial director of IEG Sponsorship Report. "If he's not going to be on the field or not on TV every weekend, most companies wouldn't say, "Let's do something new with him.' "

Last year, Brady's endorsement income totaled $10 million according to Sports Illustrated's "Fortunate 50" report. His major brand sponsorships include Movado high-end watches, Coca-Cola's Glaceau's Smartwater, private jet service NetJets, Coty's Stetson cologne and Atari's "Backyard Football" video game.