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'Big Papi' Was One Of League’s Most Marketable Players

David Ortiz
David Ortiz

If you could build a marketable baseball player from scratch, you’d probably come up with someone like Derek Jeter.

A close second would be David Ortiz.

Ortiz was in a major market. He was a slugger.

He was part of two championship teams in a short period of time and he had a golden smile.

And the deals came.

Reebok launched its first ever signature baseball in 2007 named after the Red Sox “King of Swing.” He was a natural to play badminton with Brian Urlacher in a Vitaminwater spot that same year. His agent Alex Radetsky scored national deals with State Farm and Sharp and when Wise became the “official potato chip and cheez doodle of the Boston Red Sox,” Ortiz was the only name that was natural.

When it came time for JetBlue to announce its new Boston to Dominican Republic route last month, who in the marketing department wouldn’t have done what JetBlue did? They had Ortiz greeting the first plane boarding customers at the airport.

People of all ages loved him. It’s why Backyard Baseball put him on the front of their video game. It’s why the slugger’s new restaurant Big Papi's Grille, which just opened on Friday, had to have a separate kids menu.

Every Ortiz partner we called today, including Off Beat LLC, which just unveiled a series of Ortiz hot sauces, wouldn’t comment on the report that Ortiz tested positive for performance enhancing drugs in 2003.

So let me comment for them.

Ortiz was one the best in an area where not many stand out. That’s why for someone who covers the business of sports, it’s a sad day. But I’m not counting him out yet.

I haven't tried his hot sauce.

Questions? Comments? SportsBiz@cnbc.com

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