In 1984, when Michael Jordon signed a deal with Nike for $500,000 a year, people were astonished. These days, product promotions are an integral part of the NBA and can be worth millions of dollars. After all, endorsements benefit everyone involved. The marketer gets an excellent advertising opportunity; the team and players get more money. Plus, both parties profit from the increased publicity.
So it should come as no surprise to you that endorsements deals make up a huge market. Athletes can be seen in TV commercials, magazine ads, food labels, clothing, sneakers, video games, and just about everything else imaginable. Competition is fierce for the most lucrative deals and the most popular players. This article looks at the ins and outs of endorsement deals and offers you some tips on how to get sponsorship for yourself.
On the most basic level, an endorsement deal is when an NBA player can sign a contract with a company for a specified duration of time. During that time, you will represent the company’s brand or product in exchange for money. The specific terms of the agreement vary from deal to deal.
Some endorsements only require you to wear certain gear while playing on the court (Nike sneakers, Adidas sweatband, Champion socks, etc). Other deals will have you appear in print and/or video ads using the product and perhaps saying some sort of catchy tagline. Especially demanding endorsement deals may even require you to be physically present during a product launch or company event. Typically, the more the endorsement deal demands of you, the more money you will be paid.
Before you sign any deal, you should give the matter a great deal of deliberation. It is important not to be blinded by the amount of money a company may offer you. By endorsing a brand or product, you are essentially staking your reputation on its quality and effectiveness. Do you like the product? Do you believe in what the company stands for? If you feel that the company, brand, or product is untrustworthy or is below average in quality, you should think again about signing the deal.
The reasons behind a company’s choice of representative can vary greatly. It depends on what the product is, as well as what the player is known for. Obviously, high profile athletes get a lot of sponsorship offers because they are popular and easily recognizable. Nonetheless, basketball players with lower profiles will also be sought out if the company feels that they have the right look and personality to represent the product.
To be endorsed, a player must have an upstanding character- both on and off the court. Companies will not want their product represented by a player who performs poorly or who is involved with any sort of publicity scandal. Consider how Kobe Bryant’s off the court behavior cost him an endorsement deal with McDonald’s. Fortunately, the public tends to have a short memory. Even if you make a mistake, you will still probably get offered endorsement deals within a year or so.
It is entirely possible for any basketball player to get a sponsorship, even those players who have not yet become household names. First and foremost, you need to show the world that you are a stand-up guy who is dedicated to the game. As a player who regularly appears on television, you are a brand unto yourself. Companies want to endorse an athlete who takes himself seriously and who is well organized.
One of the best ways to garner endorsement deals is to actively promote yourself – either through a personal website or by using social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube. Fans love a player who they can communicate with and relate to. Even if you are not the biggest name on the team, being personable and approachable can go a long way towards getting sponsored.
By all appearances, endorsement deals are here to stay. Companies are eager for athletes to promote their products and draw in more customers. Players get to enjoy lucrative contracts that can extend well beyond the end of their basketball careers. Just look at Michael Jordan. He made such great sponsorship decisions that he never has to work another day in his life. With a little bit of effort, the same could happen to you.