Controversy That Pays: Richard Sherman to Make $5 Million in Endorsements
As the outrage from Richard Sherman‘s naysayers fades off, the Seahawks defensive back is estimated to earn up to $5 million in endorsements following his 15-second outburst last Sunday.
Sherman’s agent, Jamie Fritz, told CNNMoney that interest in his client has been boosted by the impassioned interview he gave after making the play that secured Seattle’s 23-17 win over San Francisco.
Currently, Sherman’s endorsements amount to just a little more than his $550,000 NFL salary, but Fritz is certain that will change by the time the Super Bowl comes around on February 2nd.
“We have some new players who have come to the table who are starting the conversation,” Fritz said.
Some advertisers may shy away “because of the way he’s not afraid of opening his mouth,” said Bob Dorfman, editor of the Sports Marketers Scouting Report and executive creative director of Baker Street Advertising. “Eventually he’ll say something that really gets him in trouble. But a lot of those advertisers don’t use athletes anyway.”
It seems Sherman has found the formula for the “right kind” of controversy: passion + a triumphant back story (from Compton to Stanford to Super Bowl) + a series of eloquent follow-up interviews + a well-written response to critics.
“I think that he’s more likeable,” he said. “People love this. The brand managers love this.”
Outside experts also believe advertisers are more likely to be attracted by Sherman’s new celebrity than scared off by the controversy.
“He’s going to be the very hot interview in next couple of weeks. I’m sure you’re see someone take advantage of him,” said Jordan Schlachter, executive vice president, sports for The Marketing Arm, a firm that arranges endorsement deals.
Interest in Sherman changes the current sports ad landscape, where NFL’s defensive players don’t get the endorsements that offensive stars get.
Leading the pack is Beats by Dre, who snagged Sherman immediately for a brilliantly-timed commercial spot.
Nike has also seized upon Sherman’s moment with an ad spot featuring Kobe Bryant, world champion sprinter Allyson Felix, decathlon world record holder Ashton Eaton, and distance runners Mo Farahand Jordan Melissa Hasayand.
Sherman also stars in a regional campaign in the Pacific Northwest for Internet service provider CenturyLink.
As for whether this will all change depending on who wins the Super Bowl Fritz said, “Win or lose, I don’t think it changes the landscape of opportunities for Richard Sherman this offseason.”