Monday, August 18, 2008

Michael Phelps' Race To Turn Gold Into Cash (VIDEO)

Wall Street Journal, NY Daily News   |  Dave Burdick   |   August 18, 2008 07:32 AM

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Michael Phelps, Michael Phelps, Michael Phelps. With all the play his name gets right now, it should be a breeze to parlay eight gold medals into huge cash, right? So say a few stories around the newsosphere, but with a catch: Phelps needs to be fast to ">score endorsement deals with his Olympic fame.

A new race is now on for Mr. Phelps: the rush to transform the swimmer's Olympic feat into a marketing juggernaut, akin to Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods. But the window for marketing Olympians -- even those with the rising stature of Mr. Phelps -- can close fast. Many of the new legions of so-called Phelps Phans likely will not see his muscled torso in a pool again until 2012, an eternity for advertisers.

As Mr. Carlisle, the agent, shuttled between meetings Saturday on the eve of Mr. Phelps's historic eighth Olympic gold medal Sunday, proposals for business opportunities far and wide streamed into his BlackBerry. Some were appealing, others less so.

So how much can a box of Wheaties and an awareness-raising lap in a hotel pool mean to somebody like Phelps?

"If he's handled properly over the next four years, he should generate in excess of $40 million," said Marc Ganis, president of Sportscorp Ltd., a Chicago-based sports business consulting firm.

The 23-year-old swimming champ from Baltimore had already made a splash before the Beijing Olympics, with $5 million in endorsements from advertising sponsors.

As the New York Daily News points out, it shouldn't be hard to find endorsements that fit -- the dude eats 12,000 calories a day. Pretty much any food product could fit in there somewhere.