Looking for a Spokesperson? Retired Athletes Less Risky

December 4, 2007

(image cred)

AARP today announced that tennis star Martina Navratilova as its new “Health & Fitness Ambassador.”  A WSJ article on the deal explains why retired athletes are getting more popular:

While many of the richest endorsement deals still go to young phenoms like LeBron James, who has a seven-year, $90 million deal with Nike, former players are getting far more attention than they used to.

It is in part a reaction to the wave of recent scandals in sports, in which players have been caught up in everything from steroid abuse to a gambling ring that bets on dog fights.

Companies “don’t want to get into a situation where [they] want to get out of a contract,” says Jim Andrews, senior vice president of Chicago-based sponsorship-research firm IEG, a unit of WPP. “That is far less likely to happen with a proven entity.”

So, while it’s easier for AARP to pick a retired athlete who can relate to their older demographic, all the younger skewing brands are going to have to keep taking risks. 


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