What is A-Rod's Real Marketing Potential?


When Wall Street Journal reporter Matt Futterman wrote tonight that the William Morris Company will now be representing Alex Rodriguez, my reaction was one of disinterest.

Although Sports Illustrated reported that Rodriguez made an estimated $6 million in endorsements, I've heard the real numbers and, trust me, it's definitely not even a third of that ($2 million) at this point.

The bottom line is that Rodriguez once had deals with Pepsi, Kraft and Topps. Those are now gone. He's pretty much down to Nikeand that's for shoes and batting gloves -- not even apparel.

At those numbers, more than 40 athletes in the U.S. make more than A-Rod off the field.

The funny thing is that A-Rod's Nike deal is actually working out for the best. Dick's Sporting Goods has exclusive selling rights to the Nike Shox A-Rod. In the past two years, they've done two campaigns with the New York Yankees third baseman. And the cleated shoes have sold well, according to the company's chief marketing officer Jeff Hennion. "We've had a good experience with him," Hennion said.

For comparison sake, A-Rod's teammate Derek Jeter has been seen as transcending the sport by the Nike brand Jordan so much so that they took the bold step of unveiling a training shoe called the Jeter Clutch, which hit stores in a May with the All-Star version coming out earlier this month.

The William Morris move for A-Rod is certainly interesting as some in the marketing world thought it was done to perhaps distance himself from Guy Oseary, his manager who is also Madonna's manager. But sources told me that Oseary is still very much in the picture. Scott Boras, as the Journal indicated, will still represent A-Rod in contract negotiations.

William Morris doesn't have many sports clients that move the needle. Their most intriguing name is Dwyane Wade, while their big hope Michelle Wie has yet to win an LPGA tournament.

Update: Another endorsement Rodriguez used to have but does not any longer is Speed Stick. A-Rod does have another deal besides Nike. His glove is sponsored by Rawlings. His endorsement take is still under $2 million.
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