Yesterday, Grandstand Sports announced on our air that they had in fact secured the exclusive autograph rights to Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps. We talked to Howard Schwartz, the company's president and CEO, about making the bet.
Aside from sheer money, how did you win the rights to Michael Phelps?
Schwartz: Well, Michael's camp was looking for a company to not only bring authentic items to the market, but at the same time, they were looking for a company like Grandstand Sports who would distribute the items and through Michael's philanthropic efforts to bring these items to charities auctions, which Grandstand coordinates over 500 of these per year and charities can utilize the items and experiences to raise money for the foundations.
The key question is, you've invested in him, you believe it's more than the standard six weeks after, when everyone will forget about all Olympians. What will make Michael Phelps different that people will buy your items next March?
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Schwartz: That's a great question. A lot of people have asked us that question. Why are we investing? If my industry has taught me anything it's that moments will be appealing to the public forever--whether it's the 1980 hockey team, the moment we defeated Russia or the play in the 1986 World Series signed. Moments are appealing and they are our best sellers year after year. That's why we're investing in Michael Phelps.
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