My Interview With Phelps' Agent Peter Carlisle

Today, I interviewed Peter Carlisle, the agent for Michael Phelps. I've included the transcript below, but before I get to this, I have to tell you a funny story about Carlisle. When you watch Michael Phelps race tonight, keep in mind that Carlisle is not even close to any cameras. You see, it has become a superstition of his to sit far up in the rafters of the swimming facility.

"I sit in the least desirable area with empty seats all around me," Carlisle said. "I did the same thing in Athens. It's actually not bad. I can have my space and it allows me to really watch the race unfold."

Darren: A lot of pressure on eight. Tomorrow (Beijing time), Michael could become the most decorated Olympian of all time with 10 gold medals. Where do you fall in terms of the numbers and how that helps you negotiate for him?

Peter: Well, tomorrow, if Michael is able to become the most decorated male Olympian ever, I think that his marketability is pretty well sealed. But obviously if he ties (Mark Spitz') record of seven or potentially wins eight, you know, the value is going to be incredible.

Darren: Over time, what could that be worth in between that seven and eight?

Peter: Well, I think if he becomes a legend, if he ges to seven or eight. At that point, you've got to extrapolated the value out over the years and obviously you're talking hundreds of millions.

Darren: The percentage increase in terms of the deals. Some of his deals are up after these games. How does that change some things?

Peter: Annually, I would say that you're essentially double income annually. But again, the interesting thing will be if he's able to do the incredible, the value that will play out over the years. Some of those deals obviously will become longer term deals.


Darren: He has done appearances before and we've heard he could approach something something like Lance Armstrong's fee, which is almost like Bill Clinton's (speaking) fee at $200,000 per appearance. How willing is he to do these things and how do you kind of fix the number so that you don't price yourself out of the market, but still go with the demand?

Peter: It remains to be seen how the market price will change, but he's been in demand since 2004. Interestingly, Michael prices it out himself because he ends up going to schools and speaking for free a lot of the time, so I expect the speaking engagement market to be brisk for him following the games.

Darren: We've talked about the Speedo LZR Racer. So far 33 of 36 medals have been won in Speedos. He's their biggest endorser. Does what's happening sacrifice or hurt his accomplishments?

Peter: Not at all. I think it obviously helps. It's a great suit, but it also helps bring some attention to the sport and appreciate how an athlete affects a company's sales in a positive way.

Darren: Mark Spitz has said he won't be here. What do you think that would add if anything. Would Michael have wanted him here?

Peter: I think Michael would obviously like to have Mark Spitz here, but at the same time Mark's place in history is establishedand he's a great Olympic legend. And I'm sure he's watching what's happening here very closely.

Darren: He has Rosetta Stone, Visa, Omega, Kellogg's and you could go on and on. Is there a category of the business that you want to get him into or focus on after these games?

Peter: Yeah, we're focusing on the consumer electronics category given his lifestyle, how he uses the products and the global nature of those companies.