MICHAEL PHELPS:Getting Sm ked by Sponsors Justine Goodwin Corey Faltyn Graham Goldstone
The Low Down Picture released of Olympic Gold medalist Michael Phelps smoking from a ‘cannabis pipe’ or what is commonly called a ‘bong’. Individual at party took picture of act and sold it to British tabloid. Phelps admitted that the photo was authentic. He subsequently apologized, calling his behavior “inappropriate”.
Up In Smoke Kellog’s, a long time sponsor of Phelps, chose to revoke their sponsorship of the Gold Medalist just a week after photo was released. Subway officially de-linked Phelps as they prepared to drop his recently announced sponsorship deal. Since the swimmers marijuana scandal, Subway has renounced all links to pages featuring the Olympic Swimmer. Sponsors that have chosen to retain Phelps include: Speedo, Hilton Hotels, Mazda and Omega.
Reprimanding continues… • USA Swimming publicly reprimanded Phelps, temporarily withdrawing its financial support to him. • Phelps receives $1,750 from the organization on a monthly basis. • Phelps has also been barred from competition through early May • Phelps actions have already put a dent in his sponsorship dollars, which some experts say could reach $100 million in his lifetime.
Image Problems… In 2007, Michael Vick lost 9 million in sponsorship dollars after he was convicted of conducting illegal dog fights and killings at his residence in Virginia. His sponsors included Nike, Reebok, Rawlings, and Upper Deck. In 2004, Kobe Bryant was temporarily dropped by McDonalds, Sprite, Nike and others after allegations that he raped a young woman in Colorado, costing him 13 million in sponsorship dollars.
Still Supportive… • Mazda commented the scandal “does not affect the deal. We don’t condone what he has done, but this is not the time to turn our back on him. Ultimately it’s what Michael does in the Pool that counts.” • Speedo commented; “Michael Phelps is a valued member of the Speedo team and a great champion. We will do all that we can to support him and his family.” • Hilton Hotels Corporation, whose relationship with Phelps dates back to 2007 commented; “We continue to support Michael Phelps as an athlete whose numerous athletic feats outshine an act of regrettable behavior.”
Its All About Product Placement! Omega sees the photo as fabulous product placement, as Phelps is pulling the ‘carb’ out of the bong with a wrist ‘blinged’ out in an Omega watch. The company will be selling a replica of the watch, dubbed ‘The Poseidon’ which holds actual water.
To… From…. Down But Not Out… Balitmore Ravens Linebacker Ray Lewis exemplifies how the American public can overlook past transgressions by its sports stars. In 2000, the All-Pro was involved in an altercation that resulted in the stabbing deaths of two people. Lewis was the Super Bowl MVP a year after incident, yet no company would touch him. By 2004, Lewis was considered one of the NFL’s most marketable players…Not to mention the cover boy of EA’s Madden NFL 2005, with major endorsement deals from Reebok and Under Armour.
Sources • www.adage.com • www.bloomberg.com • www.USAtoday.com • www.Mazda.com • www.Subway.com • www.cnn.com