Yesterday, American Bode Miller -- who famously went 0-for-5 in Torino in 2006 -- scored a bronze in the men's downhill. For Americans, it might be hard to understand how the skier has any endorsements, after he was lambasted for his comments about skiing and drinking on "60 Minutes" and then didn't win a medal. But, in Europe, where they follow the sport year round, Miller is still considered to be an icon. We sat down with Miller's agent, CAA's Lowell Taub, to talk about the Bode business.
Darren:How big is Bode in Europe?
Taub: Alpine skiing is not a top 15 sport in the United States in terms of viewership and fandom. Globally, and specifically certain hot beds in Europe, alpine skiing is a huge sport and Bode is your bankable commodity in the sport. He's won the 7th most races in the history of the sport and he has won four world championship gold medals in four different disciplines over two different world championship years.
Taub: His brash, unique personality -- which is not necessarily understood in the United States -- is what endears him to the European fans. A lot of Europeans are conservative or staid or don't exhibit much personality and here's this big, successful, exciting, balls-to-the-wall American who shows a personality.
Darren:Reports suggest that Bode lost about $3 million annually in endorsements after Torino. Is that accurate?
Taub: The bottom line is Bode's endorsement portfolio did not suffer one penny versus where it was before the 2006 Winter Olympics and before "60 Minutes." He has a very healthy, robust roster of partners that truly makes sense for him and he truly uses the brands and they're natural fits. Several of them have been multi-year heading into Vancouver and several of them we hope will extend into his retirement and post-career phase.
Darren:How did Bode's deal with Superfund come together?
Taub: They are a managed future funds and these products are normally reserved for a very high net worth individual or an institutional investor. Their point of difference is that you can get in for a $5,000 minimum, an investment which is very interesting for Bode in that Bode came from humble beginnings in New Hampshire. Bode theoretically wanted to be able to give investment options to people who aren't high net worth individuals.
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