Athletes from across the world have been ranked according to their marketing potential over a three-year period from this summer.
- Value for money
- Home market
- Willingness to be marketed
- Crossover appeal
Canadian, 22, Athletics
The pretender to Bolt’s throne, on and off the track
Representatives: Doyle Management/Envision Sports & Entertainment
Key partners: Puma, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Pizza Pizza, Gatorade
2016 ranking: 38
It was one of the enduring images from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games: Usain Bolt, smiling as he crossed the finish line during what might have been a processional semi-final were it not for a new kid on the block intent on pipping the great Jamaican at the last.
That kid was Andre De Grasse, the Canadian sprint sensation who would go on to announce his arrival on the world stage in exhilarating fashion. Bronze in the 100 metres in Rio, followed up with a bronze in the 4×100m relay and a silver in the 200 metres represented an impressive medal haul for a youngster who will not be trailing in Bolt’s wake for much longer.
“Similar to Bolt, Andre’s certainly a bit of a showman. You saw that at the Rio Olympics. When the lights are on at the biggest races, he’s pumped, he’s excited, he’s having fun and smiling. That’s something that track and field needs more of and he brings that.” - Brian Levine, De Grasse’s brand manager.
With Bolt set to retire, possibly after August’s IAAF World Championships in London, there is an obvious void for De Grasse to step into. He may never fill it, such is Bolt’s greatness, but the 22-year-old from Ontario is exactly the kind of crowd-pleasing, fun-loving character athletics needs when its greatest ever sprinter calls it a day.
De Grasse’s US$11.25 million deal with Puma is still the largest first contract given to a track and field athlete. His success in Rio prompted new endorsements with PricewaterhouseCoopers, Pizza Pizza and Gatorade in his native Canada. Now, his representatives are working to capitalise in a global marketplace. ML