U.S. soccer goalie Hope Solo's new endorsement deal with Gatorade is a sign that the days when athletes sought endorsement deals quietly, as if the process was slightly undignified, have gone. Solo is being aggressively marketed by several agencies to pretty much anyone who wants to buy her services.
It's not quite as bad as the time when Chelsea F.C.'s John Terry was hawked by his agency via spam, but there is nothing quiet about it. In addition to Gatorade, she has also signed with Nike and Bank of America.
One agency claiming to represent her, Athlete Promotions, offers Solo for speaking engagements and -- bizarrely -- promises to give you her phone number if you hire her. Its web site says:
Search for Hope Solo's contract info, official website, charity and foundation, find Hope Solo's email address and Hope Solo's phone number and hire Hope Solo for speaking engagements, as a keynote presenter or special event host.Another agency, All American Speakers, has all but automated the process of paying Solo to show up. It has an online form through which you can book Solo, that auto-fills her name and suggests "Convention/trade show," "Cooking demonstration" and "infomercial" as options (click to enlarge):
The Gatorade deal is in the "low-six figure range per year" over multiple years. It would have been much more, of course, had the U.S. actually beaten Japan in the 2011 World Cup final. Some estimate the team lost $10 million in potential endorsements along with the match.
There is nothing wrong with Solo making a living through endorsements. Women's Professional Soccer won't make Solo rich: national team players earn a "minimum" of $40,000 a year in 2009. Solo was a standout player in the World Cup, she's cute -- always helpful on Madison Avenue -- and even her name sounds like it was plucked from brand-attribute aspiration list. She's a natural advertiser.
If you'd like Solo to open your supermarket or talk at your national sales meeting, here's an idea of what she's like as a public speaker, per Athlete Promotions' YouTube channel: