The price of being Barry (cont.)
Posted: Friday July 20, 2007 12:24PM; Updated: Friday July 20, 2007 1:58PM
Perhaps Bonds could be on the payroll of grooming companies such as Mennen or Gillette -- which have used stars such as Rodriguez and David Beckham in deodorant and shaving-cream ads -- for as much as $2 million a year. Add to that deals with auto companies, luxury-watch makers, fast-food companies (McDonald's or Burger King) all in the range of $500,000 to $1 million annually.
And how about a deal with a telecommunications firm such as AT&T or Verizon Wireless? It's easy to picture a "Barry Bonds knows how to go long distance" campaign, and AT&T seems like a natural fit, considering Bonds plays his home games at AT&T Park.
Bonds is also in a unique situation because of his age, says Shabelman. Granted, it's a little suspicious that a player can hit 258 home runs over a five-season stretch following his 36th birthday. But let's assume it's all legit, and that now, as he's about to turn 43, he's still mashing monstrous -- and clean -- home runs. Bonds could be playing pitchman for loads of products that you'd never see thirtysomethings Jeter or Rodriguez shilling.
For example, our hypothetical Bonds portfolio also includes products such as pain medication -- remember in the early 1990s when a 45-year-old Nolan Ryan appeared in Advil ads? We also included snack food companies, which might position Bonds as the model dad encouraging his son, Nikolai, to eat healthy.
There's also financial companies, such as retirement plans and brokerage firms: You might recall that a few years back, Bonds actually appeared in Charles Schwab TV spots with Aaron, of all people, as the Field of Dreams-style "voice from above," urging Bonds to retire.
There are other possibilities as well, such as Fortune 500 conglomerates looking to hip their images. James endorses Microsoft, and Woods appears in ads for consulting firm Accenture. And because of where he plays, Bonds could also be a pitchman for a Silicon Valley company such as eBay, Google or even Apple -- how about a Barry Bonds-brand iPod?
In short, the corporate world is still waiting for a baseball juggernaut to sell its product, the James or Manning of the diamond, whose ability to sell matches his ability to produce on the field. It all could have been possible for Brand Bonds -- in a perfect world, that is.