Rating the Post-Olympics Marketability of Top US Medal Winners

Emily Bayci@emilybayciContributor IIIAugust 11, 2012

Rating the Post-Olympics Marketability of Top US Medal Winners

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    Once the Olympics are over, the stars of the games try to cash in on their successes.

    It's only right. They are not like most professional athletes who get salaries to play. Some athletes sign deals before the games even start and then get to sign more deals at the conclusion depending on how many medals they won and what their marketability looks like.

    In this article written after the Beijing Olympics, it talks about how endorsements were tough to find because of the 2008 economy.

    Some stars like Michael Phelps may have cashed out after London, but now there are fresh faces like Gabby Douglas and the "Fab Five."

    There's also the potential for these athletes to appear on talk shows, work as broadcasters or appear on TV shows like "Dancing with the Stars."

    Here is a look at the marketability from the top US medal winners.

The "Fierce/Fab Five"

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    The U.S. women won the team gold medal for the first time since 1996.

    Their five total medals are the fewest at an Olympics since 1996, but three gold medals, won in team, all-around and floor, are more than at any Olympics from an American gymnastics team.

    The women will make a lot of money, individually and as a group. The team will be featured on a special edition of Kellogg's cereal.

    Something that could be interesting would be type of reality show with the gymnasts.

    As per the New York Post:

    Adding to the team’s appeal is their versatility. Companies can build campaigns around the whole team or a single athlete, be it Douglas, Raisman or Wieber.

    Kyla Ross, at 15 the youngest of the Fierce Five, is the only one who hasn’t yet turned professional.

    Marketability Projection: There may be limited ad campaigns that want to focus on all five gymnasts, but the Fierce or Fab Five can make money as a team.

Missy Franklin

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    Missy Franklin established herself as the new face of USA Swimming with four gold medals this year. She's only 17-years-old and set a world record in the 200-meter backstroke. 

    Franklin has the potential to make a huge amount of money, but she has said several times that she wants to swim in college and not turn professional. If she signs any sponsorship deals, she'll give up her right to compete in the NCAA.

    As reported by The Denver Post, Franklin could make $150,000 if she signs bonuses.

    Here's the breakdown of the cash in question:

    Each individual gold medal won by Franklin is worth $25,000 from the U.S. Olympic Committee's standard bonus. By winning the backstroke at both 100 and 200 meters, she is guaranteed at least $50,000, plus lesser dollar amounts as a member of three American relay teams that captured a medal. That's money Franklin can keep with no impact upon her amateur status with the NCAA, according to USA Swimming spokesperson Karen Linhart.

    But here's where it gets really interesting and more than a little confounding.

    USA Swimming bumps the reward for each individual gold medal by a sweet $75,000. Although contacted well before Franklin made a major splash in the Olympic pool, NCAA officials have not informed USA Swimming if acceptance of this additional $150,000 in earnings would make Franklin ineligible to compete for California-Berkeley, Georgia or any other college program she might choose.

    Repeat: We're talking about $150,000. That's not chump change for most American families, including the Franklins.

    "She is going to college. Mom has spoken. And she wants to go to college," said D.A. Franklin, the swimmer's mother to The Denver Post. "The point is: Will she swim with a college team and compete? Or turn pro and just practice with the coach where she goes to college?"

    Marketability Projection: Franklin could have huge marketability and be the new face of USA Swimming if she goes professional. If she passes up on this opportunity, she might not have the same possibilities after Rio.

Gabby Douglas

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    Gabby Douglas has the biggest chance to win millions of any of the Olympic gymnasts.

    She made history by being the first American woman to win the team gold and all-around gold medal, and she's also the first black woman to win the all-around gold.

    Her personality and success will help her become the face of many deals.

    As per The New York Times:

    Bob Williams, chief executive of Burns Entertainment & Sports Marketing, a company that matches advertisers with celebrities for endorsements, said the all-around gold medal is the route to a seven-figure endorsement, at least.

    Advertisers have been colorblind for years, he said, so it doesn’t matter if she is black or white—what counts most is personality.

    “It’s not like Nastia Liukin or the other recent all-around gymnasts didn’t have that, they just didn’t have it as much,” he said. “In Gabby, you see the smile, the personality, the warmth. There’s a number of similarities to her and Mary Lou. The one disadvantage is that she really did peak at the Olympics, so we’re just getting to know her.”

    Douglas could pull in at least a million dollars a year and her career could have a very long shelf life because of what she accomplished.

    "In this particular event, there's proven to be a long shelf life," said Matt Fleming, senior account manager for The Marketing Arm, which arranges endorsement deals between athletes and advertisers, in an interview with CNN.com.

    Marketability Projection: Douglas could make millions—my biggest worry is that she'll grow tired of the fame and want a normal life.

Ryan Lochte

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    Ryan Lochte, the rival to Michael Phelps, did not do as well in London as many had hoped.

    He still made a name for himself, though, and emerged from Phelps shadow. He won five medals and two golds.

    Lochte has established himself as a personality, with a sense of humor and an interesting fashion sense. He could probably be in more commercials then Phelps and has expressed interest in appearing on TV shows.

    Reality TV is made for personalities like Ryan Lochte.

    As per Phil Taylor of Sports Illustrated:

    "It's fun for me," Lochte said. "I'm so used to being out there in a Speedo, that being on display is nothing new. I'm looking forward to all of it."

    Marketability Projection: Lochte may not make a ton in endorsements, but he can become well remembered through reality TV.

Michael Phelps

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    Michael Phelps made Olympic history by winning 22 medals, 18 of which were gold—more than any other Olympian.

    He may have cashed in on most of his marketing opportunities after Beijing.

    "People are a little tired of Phelps," said Bob Dorfman, executive creative director of Baker Street Advertising and author of Sports Marketer's Scouting Report told CNN. "We always want a new thing."

    Phelps makes around $5 million a year from sponsorships with Subway and Visa.

    Marketability Projection: Phelps' prime time is done, but he will always be famous.

Alex Morgan

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    Alex Morgan is the young star of USA soccer and was a main reason the team won gold in London.

    Morgan's big moment of the Olympics was when she scored on a header to defeat Canada in the semifinal match.

    USA women's soccer has been having a rough time, and Team USA's win along with Morgan's face could help spread the sport.

    Marketability Projection: It will take a lot of work as women's soccer is never as popular as its boosters hope, but Alex Morgan is the next Mia Hamm and Abby Wambach.