9
   

Swimmer Michael Phelps was a millionaire before he won 8 gold medals at the Olympics

 
 
Reply Sun 24 Aug, 2008 09:49 am
Michael Phelps, the billion dollar man?
By Belinda Goldsmith
Wed Aug 13, 2008

BEIJING (Reuters) - Weighed in gold, Michael Phelps is worth about $3 million. In reality the face of the Beijing Olympics is probably worth 10 times that amount each year.

Marketing experts said the 23-year-old American, who is now the most successful Olympian with 11 gold medals, will become the richest professional swimmer ever, far surpassing the money earned by the former most decorated U.S. swimmer, Mark Spitz.

"He's the greatest Olympian in the world and he'll be able to earn money everywhere as he's an international brand," Australia-based celebrity agent Max Markson told Reuters.

"He's a billion dollar man. He won't have to get a job ever. He can live off this for 50 years."

Olympic sports have meant big business since the Olympic movement allowed professional athletes to compete 20 years ago.

But none has banked the sums earned by charismatic megastars like Tiger Woods, David Beckham or Michael Jordan whose names are globally known and set cash registers ringing everywhere.

Eli Portnoy, chief brand strategist at the Portnoy Group, a U.S. consultancy specialized in branding, doubted Phelps -- or any Olympian -- would match the earning power of Woods who is estimated to become the first billionaire athlete by 2010.

Phelps reportedly earns about $5 million a year from endorsements although his agency Octagon declined to comment. Portnoy forecast this rising to about $30 million, short term.

"In the heat and intensity of this event it may seem that his earning power is limitless, but you have to pull back and look at someone like Tiger Woods who has performed at a top level for years and years in front of the world," he said.

"The Olympics is only held once every four years. After a year to so Americans forget about the Olympics and move to stars they see more. Kids want someone else on their Weetabix box."

THE PHELPS PHENOMENON

Phelps is already the epitome of the modern American corporate Olympian with the Phelps Machine in full swing before he topped the record nine gold tally held by Spitz and Carl Lewis, Finnish runner Paavo Nurmi and Soviet gymnast Larysa Latynina.

Phelps, who became a professional swimmer at 16 and a millionaire by 18, has sponsors, agents, lawyers, accountants, charities, his own website in English and Chinese, and even his own logo with a wave-like blue M and red P over his name.

An Octagon spokesman said his sponsors were credit card company Visa Inc., Speedo, watch maker Omega, AT&T Wireless, energy food company PowerBar. Kellogg's, Rosetta Stone, and PureSport. He declined to say what they paid Phelps.

Within seconds of Phelps's snapping up his 10th gold medal, Visa released a special edition television commercial commemorating his title as the most decorated Olympian.

"You need to be out there early and establish your affiliation with the property, Michael Phelps," said Michael Lynch, head of global sponsorship management at Visa whose relationship with Phelps dates back to 2002.

"His performance here will benefit us as it will add to the visibility we will get through this affiliation ... and his earning ability will increase, there's no question of that."

Portnoy said Phelps's youth and composure under pressure made him a marketer's dream. The only blotch on his record was an arrest for drinking and driving in 2004 for which he apologized.

"In the short term, he is a gold mine because he represents everything that is pure, young, strong and visionary about America. We haven't had anyone of this significance since Mark Spitz," said Portnoy.

"Guaranteed there will be marketers wanting a piece of him that make no sense and it will interesting to see how his handlers cope with this and if they get greedy because the Olympics has a narrow avenue of marketability."

(Editing by Nick Macfie)
 
CalamityJane
 
  2  
Reply Sun 24 Aug, 2008 09:52 am
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
Then more power to him - he's earned it!
patiodog
 
  4  
Reply Sun 24 Aug, 2008 09:56 am
What, no one thinks he's just in it for the laurels, do they?
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  4  
Reply Sun 24 Aug, 2008 09:59 am
@patiodog,
I thought the article's information was interesting because when Phelp's profile on NBC TV coverage stressed the hardships of his mother trying to raise her family on little money. They never mentioned that Phelps was a millionaire at age 18.

BBB
blueveinedthrobber
 
  1  
Reply Sun 24 Aug, 2008 09:59 am
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
Well if he wasn't a millionaire before he damn sure is one now....
0 Replies
 
mismi
 
  3  
Reply Sun 24 Aug, 2008 10:00 am
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
How wonderful that they have it now. Not many people who scrape and sacrifice to make those kinds of dreams happen ever see them realized.
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  2  
Reply Sun 24 Aug, 2008 10:02 am
@mismi,
mismi, I agree. But I guess his wealth at age 18 didn't fit the poor boy image NBC wanted to create---for ratings?

BBB
Cycloptichorn
 
  2  
Reply Sun 24 Aug, 2008 10:04 am
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
Yup. But, to be fair, he's raised by that point. It's still accurate for them to say that he grew up poor, b/c he did.

Cycloptichorn
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  0  
Reply Sun 24 Aug, 2008 10:09 am
@Cycloptichorn,
Good point. But it still was sneaky.

BBB
Cycloptichorn
 
  2  
Reply Sun 24 Aug, 2008 10:18 am
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
Well, it's NBC, the same folk who altered the opening ceremony to make the US go later, the same ones who have generally screwed the coverage of this Olympics up completely, with their inane drivel the entire time and complete and total focus on America constantly.

Cycloptichorn
patiodog
 
  4  
Reply Sun 24 Aug, 2008 10:21 am
You know, kids who are just plain awkward and don't do well in class and get made of fun of by other kids can look at Michael Phelps and say, "Yeah, but look at what THAT geeky kid did." I'd rather it be going to and around him than some cool arrogant prick.

Course, that's part of his marketability, too. He fits nicely into that spot in the public consciousness that athletes like Wilma Rudolph and Bill Walton have filled in the past. There's just a whole lot more money and media involved now.
dyslexia
 
  0  
Reply Sun 24 Aug, 2008 10:25 am
I'm guessing he knows how many homes he owns.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  3  
Reply Sun 24 Aug, 2008 10:31 am
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
It's great that some of the Olympic athletes in the non-commercial events are now able to get some financial benefit from their efforts. Terrific news.
sozobe
 
  2  
Reply Sun 24 Aug, 2008 10:38 am
@patiodog,
Actually the "awkward" thing is evidently exaggerated, too. He was pretty good at several sports before focusing on swimming (but now that he's so specialized for swimming, he's more awkward on land).
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Sun 24 Aug, 2008 10:58 am
@CalamityJane,
Quote:
Then more power to him - he's earned it!

YES !
SO STIPULATED.
Makes me proud of capitalism.


Is your avatar a picture of u, Jane ?




David
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Sun 24 Aug, 2008 11:02 am
@patiodog,


Quote:
What, no one thinks he's just in it for the laurels, do they?

He probably likes to swim.

He does it better than I can.




David
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Sun 24 Aug, 2008 11:05 am
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
Quote:

I thought the article's information was interesting because when Phelp's profile
on NBC TV coverage stressed the hardships of his mother trying to raise her family
on little money. They never mentioned that Phelps was a millionaire at age 18.
BBB

U think the timeline had something to do with it ?

When he is 18, his mother does not have to raise him anymore.
She got him pretty hi up there.




David
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Sun 24 Aug, 2008 11:07 am
@mismi,
Quote:
How wonderful that they have it now

YES !





DAVID
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  2  
Reply Sun 24 Aug, 2008 11:11 am
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
Quote:
mismi, I agree. But I guess his wealth at age 18 didn't fit the poor boy image
NBC wanted to create---for ratings?

BBB

Is it BETTER, is it more admirable, to come from poverty ?
Not in my opinion; the competition is in SWIMMING.
He got the gold for skill in that.

The wealthy are not less admirable than the indigent.





David
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Sun 24 Aug, 2008 11:15 am
@ehBeth,
Quote:
It's great that some of the Olympic athletes in the non-commercial events
are now able to get some financial benefit from their efforts. Terrific news.

Yes; what r the non-commercial events ?





David
0 Replies
 
 

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