Saturday, August 06, 2011

New York Times: As Lochte Raises His Profile, Image Makers Dive Right In

Awesome, Ryan Lochte finally has mentors that will groom him into being a professional. Let's hope he's a huge breakout success. Could Ryan Lochte become the richest swimmer ever?

From the New York Times by Karen Crouse:

Wright’s husband, Tony, is a longtime music manager who has worked with the Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears and ’N Sync. Wright, a lawyer, says she sees in Lochte the same ineffable aura that helped make Justin Timberlake a household name.

“I know absolutely nothing about swimming,” Wright said, “but what I could tell from the first time I met Ryan is he’s marketable. He has such an ability to reach people, to touch people, to get into people’s hearts because of his nature.”


Kudos to Mark Savage who was the first photographer to photograph Ryan Lochte's "kryptonite" tennis shoes at Pan Pacs last year.


Anonymous said...

Well Wright is correct when she says she knows absolutely nothing about swimming. It's great she's finding him more marketing opportunities but hopefully she will not interfere with his training.

Tony Austin said...

It's Ryan Lochte's job to know about swimming and to be the hungry professional that he is.

It's Wright's job to leverage both his charisma and personality into endorsements mass appeal.

Marketing execs are "agnostic" when it comes to talent. What she is going to do is leverage his 300,000 fan base; (that how any kids are in USA Swimming), and turn hopefully turn it into 1-million fans. Then he has the potential to break out like Sean White.

Hopefully they will mentor him in the dark arts of money management and spelling.

Cliff Murray said...

Lochte has a lot of appeal (sex and otherwise). I think he has that special "it" that Michael Phelps does not have (although Phelps has most of the medals). American swimming will win by having another star that transcends the USA Swimming base. Go Ryan!

Likac said...

"Hopefully they will mentor him in the dark arts of money management and spelling."

Good one.

I have a strange feeling that Lochte's been forced on us lately. I know that USA Swimming has to find someone to replace Phelps as their mega star when he retires, but there has to be a better way than this.
Surely, Lochte has his own appeal and is loved by many, but so is Ian Thorpe, Nathan Adrian (great potential to be a megastar) and many other swimmers, not to mention Michael Phelps. Saying that Lochte has appeal and Phelps doesn't is ridiculous. It all depends on what appeals to you. To me (and most people outside USA) wearing grillz on podium, big fat chains around neck while being interviewed by NBC and 'jeah' has no appeal whatsoever.
Lochte's been around for ages, he is what he is so please don't try to sell me his newly found 'it' personality because I'm not buying it. Let him build his own public image without comparing him to Phelps, because it's like comparing apples to oranges. If you're not sure about Phelps appeal, look at how he's attracting people, ordinary fans and fellow swimmers alike. Fans want to watch him, swimmers want to swim next to him. For every Lochte fan there are 100 Phelps' so I wish USA Swimming and people who work for them would stop trying to elevate Lochte's status by trying to diminish Phelps' popularity and importance because it's counterproductive.

Tony Austin said...

You write so well and express your opinions so succinctly. If you ever want to do a guest blog, I am so down with that!

Likac said...

Thank you for your kind words, I am truly flattered.
You have your unique way of blogging and it works very well for you. Beware of overzealous fans turned guest bloggers who think they can. Anyway, if I find something interesting to blog about and you find it worth of posting, I'll be more than willing to contribute.

Anonymous said...

it doesn’t matter if it was Lochte or someone else.. anyone that has any amount of success will be compared to phelps.. It just happens that Ryan swims some of the same evens as Phelps and he is now beating him. They will probably do it to Ryan after London when and if Tyler Clary beats him.

I don’t feel that they are shoving Ryan down our throats.. I think they can just finally showcase someone other than Phelps. If Nathan Adrian had a lights out World Championships, he would have more press or if any of the other men had a better worlds for that matter. I have seen your comments on other blogs and its obvious you aren’t a fan of Lochte’s and that’s fine.. I think its good for the sport that they are writing and focusing on someone other than Phelps.

I don’t understand why comments have to be so negative about any swimmers not name Michel Phelps.

“For every Lochte fan there are 100 Phelps'” I have been to several meets the past three years and I think the number of Ryan’s Fans and the ones who cheer for Phelps especially in the US are pretty even. I know some die hard Phelps fans, who also like Lochte.. I think you need to setting down.. Lochte is elevating his own status be swimming so well and beating the other top swimmers in world; No one else is doing it for him.

Likac said...

@ Anonymous

I think you missed the main point of my comment. All I want to say is this: there is more than enough room for Lochte and Phelps to coexist.
You see, in every sport there are major stars - they have different personalities, they play their game differently, but they're very successful in what they do nevertheless. For example, you have Messi and Ronaldo, Federer and Nadal (and Djokovic recently ), Bryant and James etc. You have flamboyant, jewelry-wearing athletes. You also have talkative, outspoken ones. You have calm and introvert ones too. No one dare say Federer lacks personality because he doesn't dance on late night shows like Djokovic. To cut a long story short, it doesn't really matter whether I like Lochte or not. Sport of swimming needs more than one top dog and if there's a swimmer on the rise, you don't help him by dismissing someone who's already on top.
If you think swimming well is enough to elevate your star status and be attractive to potential sponsors...well, you're wrong. There are way too many great swimmers, Olympic champions either, with no endorsement deals at all. Lochte's got his own team of agents (as it should be) and he certainly doesn't do it on his own.
Interesting thing, there is a deal between Lochte (and some other swimmers too) and USA Swimming. As a matter of fact, USA Swimming is listed as one of Lochte's sponsors on his official site. I'm not OK with that. How can USA Swimming endorse chosen swimmers only? Shouldn't they promote and take care of all National team members and beyond that? People who work for USA Swimming write: Lochte is the most popular swimmer in the world; Lochte is a social media star (something he clearly isn't)...just because you endorse someone, it doesn't mean you should make false statements on your respectable site.
One more thing. I'm not sure if you noticed, but reading the article on NYT site you can also read this: "A version of this article appeared in print on August 7, 2011, on page SP4 of the New York edition with the headline: Creating the Next Olympic Hero."
Very interesting choice of words. How do you exactly 'create' an Olympic Hero?