With everyone buzzing on the business of Michael Phelps, I had to invite Phelps' agent Peter Carlisle of Octagon on "Squawk Box" again this morning to talk about his client.
(Transcript of interview follows:)
Darren: What's your phone like, your BlackBerry?
Carlisle: My biggest worry everyday is finding myself near enough to an electric outlet that this plug takes, so I can keep the thing charged. It has been crazy.
Darren: You made a comment to The Wall Street Journal that you are getting 50 pitches a day.
Carlisle: Yeah, it just increased exponentially. I've got this local Chinese cellphone in one hand and BlackBerry in the other, and it's ringing. Both of them are ringing at the same time. It has been a pretty chaotic and wild ride so far.
Darren: Michael has already done a book previously. We're hearing things about another book. What can you tell us?
Carlisle: Well, Michael's done two books already and shortly after he won his eighth gold medal, the inquiries started to come in for a third book, which was somewhat of a surprise given that he already has two.
But what was really surprising was the level of interest and the number of publishers and really the value to the deal, so that was very encouraging.
But perhaps more interesting is the fact that off of the periphery of Michael, there's interest in books with his coach Bob Bowman, sort of a business literature concept, motivational planning, that sort of thing, and his mom Debbie for parenting. So you know those are deals that you don't generally anticipate in the Olympic space.
Darren: And you're managing her career now, too, apparently because she got an endorsement deal with Johnson's. Is there something in that? Wilma McNabb got some endorsement deals when Donovan was hot. Is there something in Debbie now?
Carlisle: Debbie has sort of taken, you know, sort of the hearts of America in terms of parenting and mom of the year, so she's doing some work with Johnson's [Johnson & Johnson's] Baby in New York as we speak....
Darren: She's in New York right now?
Carlisle: She's in New York as we speak, doing some stuff with Johnson's Baby, and she's also does some stuff with ADHD moms and is the spokesperson for that, given Michael's experience with ADHD. Actually her favorite clothing brand has always been Chico's ever since I've known her, and sure enough, Chico's has expressed interest, so you know, it's all new territory here.
Darren: We asked Michael if there's an endorsement deal that you don't have that you'd like to have, he said the fast-food category. The Chicago Sun Times heard my comment and called McDonald's and we find out that McDonald's has done something with him. What's the latest with that?
Carlisle: Michael has done some work with McDonald's, really working with the kids and the programs that they have. But if there's one deal, he's always said it'd be McDonald's, and I think in part because of the depth of their relationship with the Olympic space. It's also about what they did with Jordan, and he's sort of been Michael's hero forever.
The truth of the matter is you can't stop the guy from eating the food and so its one of these natural fits, so we'll see what happens.
Darren: EBay is going nuts, collectibles-wise. Tell me about merchandising, can we see Michael Phelps picture on a shirt? What are your plans in that category?
Carlisle: We're going to really explore the merchandising side of the business globally, by sort of taking his name and image alone at times, putting them on merchandise, shirts, things of that nature, posters, and there has already been a lot of demand for that sort of thing.
But I think it's going to be interesting to see globally, whether that's going to take on, because in the Olympic space, you don't see a lot of that.
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