Everyone knows that celebrities and athletes sell products. Companies will often put their faith in athletes because they can bring in the big bucks. Unfortunately, there is also a lot of risk involved. When an athlete goes under the radar for irrational behavior a lot is at stake. The company can lose as much as they have stood to gain from the endorsement. The following lists some of the worse sports marketing or sports sponsorship deals ever made.
AMF Michael Jordan Bowling Ball
Everyone seems to know Michael Jordan. He’s a world renowned basketball star that has sold more products in his retirement than most athletes sell while they are playing the game. He has successfully marketed products like Ball Park Hot Dogs and Hanes underwear. He is most famous for his shoes, however, because every kid in America seems to want them.
It almost seemed like Jordan could sell anything. At least this is what AMF thought when they tried to link him to their bowling balls. Unfortunately, everything did not go as planned with this deal. The product was not made well and there was no link between Michael Jordan and bowling. He made money from the deal, but AMF lose millions in production. To compare his success in so many other areas with his failure in this one is unreal. Most people that are Jordan fans do not even know that this product exists. This just shows how bad the link between a basketball player and a bowling company can be.
Kobe vs. Sprite, McDonalds and Everything In Between
Kobe Bryant is another basketball player that had a lot going for him. His talent allowed him to skip college and enter the professional NBA league right out of high school. He won championships and showed an energetic youth that made companies stand up and take notice.
Things worked out splendidly until he was accused of rape. He was acquitted, but the damage was done. Heavy hitters like Sprite and McDonalds pulled the plug on their advertisements. There was really no choice in a case like this. Kobe Bryant became a tarnished name in the industry and companies did not want to take the fall with him. The trial for this case was wrapped up in less than a year, but the Kobe Bryant name was tainted. Bryant lost his ability to lure consumers.
Nike Signs, Drops and Signs Vick (Again)
Michael Vick was set to give Nike something of a comeback in the shoe arena. Dog fighting led to an arrest and the loss of more than $2 million. The crazy thing is that Nike picked Vick back up for another endorsement deal after he was released and supposedly rehabilitated.