Lifestyle

Power 100: Supermodel Super Boost?


Pro athletes date supermodels with enviable regularity. In some cases the matches add up to greater marketability and bigger endorsement deals

Pro athletes courting hot women is hardly a new phenomenon. From Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe to Super Bowl-bound quarterback Aaron Rodgers dating Gossip Girl's Jessica Szohr, the U.S. has long been fascinated with Mars-Venus liaisons and the glamour they imply. While a supermodel wife gives a guy awesome eye candy for fans' smartphone pics, does it boost his endorsement portfolio? Just look at Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (Power 100 No.5), married to Brazilian sensation Gisele Bündchen, and America's top tennis player Andy Roddick, whose wife is Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue cover girl Brooklyn Decker. Right now, Bündchen is likely more of a marketing asset to Brady than Decker is to Roddick. While both are the envy of husbands everywhere, Bündchen has a broader audience and greater awareness among women, while Decker is presumably best known for her SI swimsuit work, which means that her fan base is quite literally the same as Roddick's. In contrast, association with Bündchen can help Brady build awareness and appeal among women, enhancing his abilities as a mainstream marketer. This is apparent in E-Poll's E-Score Celebrity survey (similar to the Power 100's Nielsen/E-Poll N-Score data), which shows Bündchen's awareness among females at 23 on a 1-100 scale, while Decker's score among females is a low 4. At an overall E-Score of 43, Decker is below average, while Bündchen's E-Score of 71 is supermodel super-high. Bündchen is the highest-paid model in the world, with an estimated fortune of $150 million from modeling and advertising contracts with the likes of Louis Vuitton (MC:FP), Christian Dior (CDI:FP), Victoria's Secret, Max Factor (PG), and Apple (AAPL), plus product endorsements that include Nivea (BEI:GR), Vogue Eyewear (LUX), and Pantene (PG). Brady's Raft of Endorsements

Brady recently reached inked a four-year contract with the Patriots estimated to be worth about $18 million annually, making his average salary the highest for any player in the NFL. Among his current licensing and endorsement deals are contracts with Audi (VOW:GR), Coca-Cola's (KO) Smartwater, Movado (MOV), and Stetson. Last fall, Brady became the highest-profile athlete to sign with apparel maker Under Armour (UA), getting a stake in the company as part of the arrangement. Some Brady fans are whining about his "Giselification," citing a recent deal with sheepskin boot maker UGG Australia (DECK) and his ever-longer hair as the undue influence of his fashion-savvy wife. For this Brady bunch, it's all good—and good-looking—business. What of our other couple? Roddick makes an estimated $16 million a year from tournament winnings and endorsements from Lacoste, Aquiss Beverage Technologies, and others. The fact that he just got bounced from the Australian Open will give him more time to catch previews of Decker's feature film debut in Sony Pictures's (SNE) Just Go With It, in which she co-stars with Jennifer Aniston and Nicole Kidman to play Adam Sandler's love interest. This high-profile movie will come out right before Valentine's Day, no doubt raising the profile of Decker, who has also modeled for the Gap (GPS) and was named Esquire's 2010 "Sexiest Woman Alive." That should keep Roddick in the spotlight between tournaments. Just call it a sweetheart deal.

Click here to see the world's most powerful athletes in the 2011 Power 100.

Karla Swatek is vice-president of Horrow Sports Ventures and co-author of Beyond the Box Score: An Insider's Guide to the $750 Billion Business of Sports (February, 2010).

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