Entries in Endorsements (6)


Companies Cut Ties with Lance Armstrong After Livestrong Resignation

Morne de Klerk/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Corporate sponsors are bailing on Lance Armstrong in droves after a report by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency showing evidence and testimony that Armstrong was involved in doping.

On Wednesday, Armstrong announced he is resigning as chairman at his Livestrong Foundation, and then companies began bailing.

Now Anheuser-Busch, 24 Hour Fitness, Trek Bikes and the company that makes Easton baseball bats and Bell bicycle helmets are joining Nike in pulling sponsorship deals with the former cyclist.

"We have decided not to renew our relationship with Lance Armstrong when our current contract expires at the end of 2012," Paul Chibe, Vice President of U.S. Marketing at Anheuser-Busch said Wednesday.

Chibe added that, like many of the companies dropping Armstrong, Anheuser-Busch will continue to support the Livestrong Foundation but not Armstrong himself.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Lance Armstrong's Sponsors Say They'll Stand By Him

Michael Stewart/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Lance Armstrong could lose millions in winnings and endorsements fees if he is stripped of his racing titles, but so far his major sponsors say they have no intention of dropping Armstrong, largely because of his work with the Livestrong Foundation.

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency Friday banned Armstrong from the sport for his alleged use of illegal performance enhancing drugs and said it expects cycling's governing body, the International Cycling Union, to strip Armstrong of his titles. USADA said they could require Armstrong to return millions of dollars in cash prizes that he has won since 1998.

The Tour de France awards the winner about 450,000 euros plus bonuses, which for Armstrong means he could lose at least $4 million as a seven-time champion.

However, a source close to Armstrong said it remains to be seen whether Armstrong will lose his titles.

"The status of various titles, and financial awards, is really not up to USADA. The governing bodies of each of the respective races will have to decide whether they are going to respect USADA's rulings. So all of that remains to be seen at this point," the source said.

The organizer of the Tour de France, Amaury Sport Organization, is not commenting about the USADA's statements.

Armstrong retired last year and has been since racing in triathlons.

Previously had an annual income of $500,000, according to Sports Illustrated's Fortunate 50 rankings from 2004 and 2005. He is believed to be worth $100 million.

His foundation, Livestrong, is standing staunchly beside him.

"With his help, the foundation has raised close to $500 million to further the fight against cancer and serve those affected by the disease," vice chairman and founding chairman of the Lance Armstrong Foundation Jeffery C. Garvey said in a statement on Thursday.

Garvey said Armstrong "personally contributed nearly $6.5 million to propel his foundation's services to cancer survivors and their families."

The sponsors of Armstrong and his foundation are also not wavering.

A spokesman for Nike provided a statement, saying: "We are saddened that Lance Armstrong may no longer be able to participate in certain competitions and his titles appear to be impacted. Lance has stated his innocence and has been unwavering on this position. Nike plans to continue to support Lance and the Lance Armstrong Foundation, a foundation that Lance created to serve cancer survivors."

Nike, which will not release figures for their athlete endorsements, is Armstrong's major sponsor.

Forbes, however, estimates that Armstrong could lose at least $50 million in product endorsements over the next five years. But no one has announced they are backing out yet.

Paul Chibe, vice president of U.S. marketing for Anheuser-Busch, which is a named sponsor of Livestrong, said, "Our partnership with Lance remains unchanged."

"He has inspired millions with his athletic achievement and his commitment to helping cancer survivors and their families," Chibe said in a statement.

Trek, the bike company with which Armstrong has a sponsorship agreement, said it is analyzing the situation and following developments. The company also sells two fitness-style bikes that are branded "Livestrong."

Len Zanni, vice president of marketing for Honey Stinger, another sponsor of the foundation is remaining as a sponsor.

"Lance Armstrong is a member of our ownership team and he has played an important part in Honey Stinger's growth," Zanni said in a statement. "We look forward to working with him in this capacity to help increase our sales and build our brand. Additionally, we will continue our support of the Lance Armstrong Foundation as a sponsor of the Livestrong Challenge Series.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Missy Franklin Will Put Off Endorsement Fortunes to Swim in College

Clive Rose/Getty Images(LONDON) -- If the experience of past Olympians is any guide, gold-medalist swimmer Missy Franklin could be swimming in money after she heads home to Colorado from the London games.

But the teenager has defied conventions in nearly every aspect of her path to London, where she has already won three gold medals and one bronze. Now Franklin, 17, will forgo immediate fortunes in endorsements and prize money to remain an amateur.

In an indication of what Franklin is passing up, gymnast Gabby Douglas -- America's other darling of the Olympics -- will appear on a special-edition box of Corn Flakes, Kellogg announced Friday.

Rather than star on a cereal box, Franklin would like to compete in college. Skipping endorsement deals and the promo-laden route to Michael Phelps-like celebrity is the latest in Franklin's I'll-do-it-my-way style.

Her income from deals would likely be "in the millions," according to Ronald Oswalt, CEO of the San Marcos, Texas-based Sports Marketing Experts.

Franklin, who will soon be a high school senior in Aurora, Colo., has already turned down $100,000 in prize money and many times that in endorsements, the Wall Street Journal estimated.

But Franklin's decision to maintain amateur status, a requirement for competing in the NCAA, might have a long-term personal payoff, if not a financial one, said Oswalt, who specializes in connecting athletes with sponsorships.

"Winning a gold medal can be priceless, but cashing in on the glory could or couldn't turn into happiness," he said.

Oswalt applauds Franklin's parents for not pressuring her to reap monetary rewards from her success in the pool.

"So many parents push their kids," he said. "They think the Olympics are going to be their payday, but her dreams have already come true."

The decision might also have been a prudent one because of the pressures that high-profile endorsements bring, said Evan Morgenstein, a sports agent who has represented U.S. Olympic swimmers Dara Torres and Janet Evans. With endorsements come many requirements and, often, a commitment to perform for years, he said.

Franklin's decision could not have surprised those who have followed her unorthodox career.

Since age 7, Franklin has stuck with the same coach she was paired with the first day she walked into a Colorado swimming club, which did not even own its own pool. She did not move to a part of the country known for producing swimming gold medalists like Florida or California. Her coach, Todd Schmitz, is now a member of the U.S. Olympic coaching staff.

Franklin's famous versatility in the pool -- she qualified for seven events in London, two of them the very different backstroke and freestyle -- is a result of her unconventional refusal to specialize in a single stroke early on.

Franklin only endeared herself more this week when she dedicated her Olympic victories to the victims in her hometown of the movie theater massacre that killed 12 and injured 58.

"Everything I've done here is for them," she said immediately after breaking the 200-meter backstroke world record for her third gold medal.

Even without appearing on television for sandwich commercials, as Phelps famously did, Franklin's cheerful demeanor has long made her a media sweetheart. After a triumphant trip to London, she is likely to keep that status, even if she does it from a collegiate swimming pool. And after all, Oswalt said, she is only 17.

"She should enjoy her senior year," he said. "She can make a decision in 2014 or 2015. She still has time."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


NBA Top Draft Pick Anthony Davis Trademarks His Unibrow

Chris Graythen/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Since he began his freshman year at the University of Kentucky, teammates exhorted basketball star Anthony Davis to shave his unibrow. They failed. A year later, as the expected top pick in this week's NBA draft, Davis is aiming to cash in on his refusal.

In anticipation of his imminent rise to national stardom, Davis trademarked the phrases "Raise the Brow" and "Fear the Brow." Widely expected to be drafted by the New Orleans Hornets in Thursday's draft, Davis said he saw profit potential in leaving his eyebrows connected.

"I don't want anyone to try to grow a unibrow because of me and then try to make money off of it," Davis told CNBC. "Me and my family decided to trademark it because it's very unique."

Davis will not even consider splitting his eyebrow in two as he begins racking up endorsements, he told ESPN, a partner of ABC News.

"It changes none whatsoever when I'm in the NBA," he said. "I'm not going to change who I am. It's me."

NCAA rules prevented Davis from exploiting his unibrow's brand value while he was playing for Kentucky, and the school's athletic department kept a tight leash on merchandise celebrating his uncommon facial feature.

Jason Schlafer, the athletic department's marketing director, said he sent about a half dozen cease-and-desist letters and placed twice as many phone calls to vendors who were "sprinting up to the line," close to infringing on the Kentucky Wildcats' trademarks.

At first, he said, he was concerned that T-shirts that said "Bow to the Brow" and "Brow Down" would offend Davis and his family because they, "highlighted what may be perceived as a negative feature."

"But then we saw his mother in a 'Fear the Brow' T-shirt, and she had penciled in a unibrow on her face," Schafler said.

Davis played just one season for the Wildcats before becoming a nationally discussed NBA prospect. One of only four freshmen ever to win the NCAA's Most Outstanding Player award, Davis led the Wildcats to their eighth NCAA championship in the 2011-12 season.

On June 15, he signed Arn Tellem of Wasserman Media Group as his agent. Reached Tuesday, Tellem declined to comment.

Davis's only current endorsement is a draft-night deal with Sprint's NBA Android app.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Sorry Jessica Simpson, Celeb Endorsements Don’t Pay Off

ABC/Randy Holmes(NEW YORK) -- Companies pay celebrities big money to endorse their products, but the negative perceptions about a celebrity linked to a product are more likely to transfer than the positive perceptions, according to a new University of Colorado Boulder study.

Jessica Simpson, a pop singer and reality TV star, was used in one study to describe her association with a brand. The participants differed in their responses, with the positive saying “sexy and fun” and the negative saying “ditsy and weak.”

When the participants were asked about their thoughts of Jessica Simpson endorsing a pocketknife, a product that did not relate to her overall persona, only the negative connotations transferred to the participants.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Consumer Reports: Are All Celeb-Endorsed Foods Star Quality?

Mario Batali. ABC/ Ida Mae Astute(NEW YORK) -- Celebrity-endorsed foods may cost two or three times as much as other brands, but that does not mean you’re getting star treatment, says a new taste test from Consumer Reports.

Among 26 foods tasted by trained sensory experts, only three products received Consumer Reports’ highest rating of “excellent”: Mario Batali Marinara sauce, Giada De Laurentiis Tomato Basil pasta sauce and Wolfgang Puck Tomato Basil Bisque.

Tod Marks, senior editor with Consumer Reports, said the group tested products from television chefs, including Batali, who owns 17 restaurants and co-hosts the upcoming ABC daytime talk show The Chew. The tested products also included those of famous restaurants, such as those of Chef Puck, and products with celebrity names, like director Francis Ford Coppola, and actors Paul Newman and Paul Sorvino.

Consumer Reports tested for characteristics such as flavor and texture, freshness of ingredients, based on an “objective criteria.”

“For a lot of items, people get caught up in a name. And if there’s a lesson to be learned, it’s don’t be swayed by a fancy name or package. Let your taste buds be your guide,” Marks said.

Marks said some celebrities use “great” ingredients while others can skimp on quality.

“Just because you’re paying an A-list price, doesn’t mean you get an A-list product,” he said.

“Giada’s is very inexpensive, balanced, fresh tasting and had a buttery taste. Turns out it did have butter and we loved it,” Marks said.

Giada De Laurentiis Tomato Basil pasta sauce is sold exclusively at Target.

Ten products were rated “Very Good,” including Lidia’s Marinara from Lidia Bastianich, and Rao’s Homemade 8 Star Balsamic Vinaigrette, from the exclusive New York City restaurant. Half of the products tested were only rated average, with some no better than cheaper mainstream brands such as Kraft, Campbell, and Progresso, according to Consumer Reports.

Some items were noticeably more expensive than national brands, and sometimes for naught.

Consumer Reports found the Original Soupman Tomato Basil, based on a Seinfeld television character, costs 36 cents per ounce while Progresso soup costs 11 cents per ounce.

A half-cup of Ragu is 42 cents while Rao’s marinara sauce can cost $1.41, according to Consumer Reports. For two tablespoons of balsamic vinaigrette dressing, Kraft cost 18 cents while that of Delmonico’s,  a steakhouse in New York City, costs 39 cents. Delmonico’s also ranked lowest among the dressings tested.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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