Devin Hester might be in the game for an average of 20 plays or so, but the Bears kick returner, and occasional wide receiver, certainly gets his bang for his marketing buck.
Last night, he caught his third career receiving touchdown in as many years in the NFL, but it’s the 25-year-old’s kick returning ability that makes him stand out.
Last year, his record six returns for touchdowns helped Hester finish 11th in the league in jersey sales by season’s end. And Hester’s popularity has held up through the offseason as he now ranks No. 12 on the jersey sales list, selling better than the likes of Terrell Owens, Randy Moss and Troy Polamalu.
In the offseason, Hester signed a new four-year deal, reportedly worth at least $30 million and signed a shoe and apparel deal with Under Armour. Last night, Hester was wearing a unique, custom fit Under Armour cleat for the first time.
UA isn't worried about the risk of associating itself with someone who gets fewer minutes on the field than traditional players. He was in a commercial that the company debuted this summer at the ESPY's and he's one of three faces--along with Patrick Kerney and Patrick Willis --of Under Armour's football campaign this year.
"Devin is a special once-in-a-lifetime type player," said Steve Battista, the company's senior vice president of brand. "He's a SportsCenter highlight reel and he brings a lot to the table for us."
Signing Hester was a departure from the traditional player that Under Armour signs. Over the years, they've often signed defensive players than offensive and if they do go to the offensive side of the ball, it happens with players like Vernon Davis, who looked huge in their tight shirts. A speed demon like Hester is what the company needs to endorse its cleats since people see more of themselves in a guy like Hester, just like they see themselves as point guards instead of centers in basketball.
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