Sports Biz with Darren Rovell

Can Phelps Really Not Swim In 2012?

Michael Phelps

The latest on Michael Phelps has him contemplating whether he wants to swim in the 2012 Olympics, which was previously a given.

Phelps told the Baltimore Sun that the decision is “going to require a lot of time and energy.”

Well, if Phelps wants to make money, it’s not going to take much time and it’s not going to take much energy.

It’s pretty simple.

Phelps has to make up his mind so that Speedo can decide what to do with him when his endorsement contract expires at the end of this year. And he has to tell the folks at Visa as well. They’ve let it be known that the only Summer Games athletes that they’re spending money on are those that are competing in 2012. That, to us at least, means that there has to be some provision in his new contract that will significantly reduce their payments to him if he’s not swimming in the next games.

Phelps says that if he decides to walk away, he will walk away on his own terms. But he’s going to have to let his sponsors know pretty soon. Subwayhas a campaign coming out in the summer. If they wanted a retired Olympian, they would have signed Mark Spitz for a quarter of the money. And what about the folks at PureSport, the sports drink that Phelps now endorses, a company that – in an unprecedented move – put their statement about Phelps on the front of their Web site.

Phelps and three of his swimmers reportedly took a five percent stake in the upstart for their endorsement. If Phelps is going to retire, those swimmers – Aaron Peirsol, Brendan Hansen and Ian Crocker – are going to have to readjust how many cases of this stuff they thought they'd sell.

Questions?  Comments?