Usain Bolt ‘can’t turn into Kim Kardashian,’ says agent
After a well-documented build-up to London 2012 that didn’t quite go to plan, Usain Bolt answered the doubters in stunning fashion by winning Sunday’s 100 metre final in an Olympic record time of 9.63 seconds, leading many to speculate exactly what the win could mean for his endorsement portfolio.
The general consensus is that the fastest man on the planet will double his off-track earnings after becoming the first sprinter since American Carl Lewis to retain the 100 metre Olympic title.
But the sprinter’s agent has indicated that the impact of a successful London 2012 on Bolt’s marketability may not be as dramatic as many people think.
“The strategy very much was to try and keep to a small number of quite high value contracts between Beijing and London,” said Irishman Ricky Simms, speaking exclusively to SportsPro as Bolt began the defence of his 200 metre crown in Tuesday’s heats.
“We’ll sit down at the end of the season and work out his goals for the next four years and this will be part of that discussion. Of course, he’s going to be competing for the next four years so he can’t turn into Kim Kardashian where he can go to an appearance every week. He still has to be an athlete. It won’t change that much but it will a little bit.”
Fully aware that endorsement dollars will soon dry up if Bolt fails to preserve his status as the king of track and field, Simms and Bolt’s coach, Glen Mills, are keen to ensure the Jamaican’s training is not compromised by the demands of his off-track affairs.
"He can’t turn into Kim Kardashian where he can go to an appearance every week"
“Usain was already one of the most marketable athletes in the world, as you guys decided, so he’s probably gone higher up on that list right now,” Simms said, referring to SportsPro’s 2012 list of the world’s most marketable athlete, in which Bolt ranked fourth.
“The good thing with Usain is that he’s still young so he still has another four years. He’ll only be thirty at the next Olympics. He’s still towards the middle of his career. So he’s in a very strong position now but to be honest we’re focused on the 200 metres now and getting him through that and then the relay. There are a few more races so not until the end of the year will we begin working with him on those kinds of contracts.”
For Bolt’s existing sponsors, the most prominent being Puma, Sunday’s performance was just what the doctor ordered. Simms has met with the sponsors “almost everyday” during the Games and is pleased to report that they are all “delighted from a brand level, for being part of that journey, but also for him as a person.”
“Usain worked extremely hard, the last few weeks especially, to try and get to where he needed to be and it all came off, which is great.”
"I was just looking at the amount of famous people that are tweeting both during the race and after the race. So I think he’s the centre of attention right now"
And Simms is certain of which markets he will target in order to capitalise on Bolt’s popularity after the Games. “I think everyone,” he laughed. “I was just looking at the amount of famous people that are tweeting both during the race and after the race. So I think he’s the centre of attention right now.”
“I think his target market depends on the product. For sports clothing and things like that, obviously the teenage market is very important. But there are other products in the pipeline that will appeal to an older market as well.”
Simms is equally excited at the prospect of capitalising on the growing profile of his client and good friend Mo Farah after the Briton produced a remarkable display to win gold in the 10km race in front of a sell-out home crowd on Saturday night.
“[The win] puts him on a much higher level,” Simms said. “He was world champion last year and now he’s Olympic champion - more people are watching the Olympics for sure - and Mo is such a likeable character. And you know he’s a great ambassador for the brands that he works with. He represents a lot of things so I think he will be someone that we’ll see a lot more of over the next four years.”
Usain Bolt becomes global Samsung ambassador - 26 March 2013
Usain Bolt signs sponsorship deal with Hublot - 25 May 2010
Puma extends with Usain Bolt - 24 August 2010
Bundesliga side extend sponsorship - 15 May 2013
IMG snaps up another young golf star - 27 July 2009
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