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Basketball Star Picked For Endorsements

  • Ad Age, Thursday, June 28, 2007 10:18 AM
Greg Oden, the 7-foot, 19-year-old basketball star who opted to turn pro after only one year at Ohio State, has already inked sponsorship deals with Nike, Take Two Interactive, Spalding, Topps and Raymond Weill. He is expected to be the first player selected in today's National Basketball Association Draft.

Contracts such as these -- for shoes, cards and games -- are what sports marketers call "tools of the trade deals." It remains to be seen if Oden will be able to branch out beyond them to the broader endorsements for cars, clothes and packaged goods. Usually, they go to athletes who transcend their sports.

Oden has recently spent time reaching out to the ad world: chatting up Donny Deutsch on TV and dropping by the midtown offices of Omnicom Group and BBDO. Outreach will help, but sports-marketing experts say winning championships -- a likely outcome if Oden lives up to the best-big-man-in-a-generation hype -- is the only way for an athlete to ensure his marketability.



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