Saturday, October 18, 2008

Stephanie Rice signs a 2-year, $465,000, contract with Australia's Seven television network

From the CanadianPress: "... First up was a two-year, US$465,000 contract with Australia's Seven television network. She's already helped host a model contestant show for the network and done a few segments for a lifestyle program.

"I'm very interested in the media, and I love fashion," Rice said. "It's been a great experience, so different from the pool. And it might help prepare me for something after swimming."

Some of the gossip sections in Australian newspapers and magazines would have her convinced a post-swimming life in fashion is in the cards. ..." [Link]

Stephanie Rice is now a bought and paid for personality! All she has to do is be herself and talk about stuff that amuses her. Ultimately, her deal with Australia' Seven TV, is as ethical a transaction as you can get. She is not selling snake oil, fast food or Playboy magazines: She is selling her ideas, opinions, and ultimately herself!

Obviously Michael Phelps, Dara Torres and Amanda Beard have merged their swim careers with business interests, but what about Olympians such as Ryan Lochte, Kim Vandenberg, and Brendan Hanson Hansen? [oops!] All three have an amazing amount of Charisma great looks and the ability to communicate well. So why Stephanie Rice and not the three listed above?

I suspect that Stephanie Rice forewent the sports management route and an astutely went for talent management instead. Olympians should look at Rice as a business template and follow suit.

Kim Vandenberg is quite attractive, she is articulate, and poised. She is featured in the photograph above. I was impressed with her answers in this interview at Women'sHealth magazine: Link and this is why I use her as an example of poorly leveraged beauty and talent. Stephanie Rice is no Kim Vandenberg.

Ryan Lochte could be making HUGE modeling fees as could Brendan Hansen, who has demonstrated time and again that he is an amazing gentleman, has brand recognition in Asia and actively supports charitable organizations. These are talent "goldmines."

All of the above should have multiple agents: Modeling, theactrical, PR, and such not one agent does all.

Sports management is more interested in leveraging one's accomplishments rather than the athlete themselves. The above three athletes have so much to offer and they are practically invisible despite having a constituency as large if not larger than Stephanie Rice.


Kerry said...

It's not so simple. To begin, I don't really think you can compare those 3 in the US to Stephanie in Australia. Stephanie is more akin to Phelps over there, and in a country that is more fanatical about swimming in general. And I think a lot of the US athletes would find that the TV schedule would interfere with training - I'm sure Phelps is getting these kinds of offers, and not taking them. (Yet.) And think of what it's like when it does happen. Amanda Beard signed all sorts of on-air deals over the last four years, and while I think it was smart for her long run career, it certainly didn't help her swimming career to be out of the pool so much.

Plus, some of the sponsorship contracts preclude the gigs you're talking about. (I recall a while back that Hansen had to decline an Abercrombie and Fitch offer b/c Nike disallowed it. Makes no sense, since the two companies don't compete and more modeling = athelete exposure, but that's how it played out.)

And for what it's worth, being a personality on a TV show does not typically give you creative control. She's giving her opinions, as scripted in advance, and then edited. It's a great gig, but hardly a more heroic one than your average endorsement deal.

Tony Austin said...

You feel the fame and economics are regional? My opinion is that having the body, mind and a built in demographic can still be leveraged.

Shia Lebouf is barely talented but I bet he doesn't audition anymore because he has a fan base. the swimming community in America may be small but they are affluent. There are shows that stay on the air despite bad ratings due to their demographic.

If you are say Armani or the watchmaker Baum & Mercier, paying a Ryan Lochte or Kim Vandenberg to wear your product for for a photo shoot is worth 50k since the demographic they represent is generally affluent in my opinon.

BTW, you were up late.

Ahelee said...

Bravo Tony (this is the topic that should be written up in Swimming World!) - and some good points as well Kerry.

Many of our great athletes are beautiful and talented outside of the pool, so yes what a great point to be marketed by a talent agency!

Amanda Beard, while not everyone agrees with her choices, contracted agreements that allowed her the time, $$, and resources to continue training so she could qualify for her next Olympics!

How many athletes are forced or choose to leave competition because they can not swing even simple living financially?

And if we think it is bad for our USA athletes, just imagine the problems international swimmers run up against.

Charlie said...

"Shia Lebouf is barely talented" - I love that!