|03-11-2005, 11:34 AM||#1|
lets go partner
Join Date: Oct 2004
Crosby inks lucrative endorsement deal
TORONTO (CP) - Sidney Crosby has joined NBA star Allen Iverson, NFL quarterback Peyton Manning, actress Lucy Lui and rappers Jay-Z and 50 cent in Reebok's stable of athletes and celebrities endorsing the company's sportswear and sports equipment.
The 17-year-old Rimouski Oceanic forward has signed what is reported to be a five-year, 2.5-million US dollar endorsement deal with Reebok, which continued its aggressive push into the hockey market by signing the best young hockey prospect in years.
Reebok beat out rivals Nike, Bauer and Mission to sign Crosby and flew him to Toronto on the company plane for a splashy news conference Tuesday at the Air Canada Centre.
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"I've been in this business for 15 years. Based on my experience in working in hockey with other athletes, it's probably the best deal I've seen so far in terms of apparel and equipment," said Pat Brisson, Crosby's agent with IMG.
Crosby has signed an NHL-calibre endorsement contract even though he has yet to drafted by the league.
"This is obviously a big deal and it's something I'm happy to be part of, but it's not going to change me as a person or a player," Crosby said. "Money is not going to change me. I'm going to be the same person no matter what happens."
Reebok already has an equipment deal with the Canadian Hockey League, which includes the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in which Crosby plays.
But Crosby will wear Reebok skates and equipment exclusively and Reebok footwear, apparel and training equipment off-ice. He will not use Reebok's sticks yet, as he has two years remaining on a four-year deal with Sherwood.
Tuesday's announcement at the ACC got full-on media coverage in a Leafs-centred market starved for hockey news of any kind during the NHL lockout.
Crosby, the unanimous choice to be the first overall pick whenever the 2005 NHL draft actually is held, stepped to the podium on the Toronto Raptors practice court wearing jeans, a Reebok hooded sweatshirt and an Rbk baseball cap.
He answered questions in both English and French with parents Troy and Trina in attendance.
The five-foot-10, 193-pound forward from Cole Harbour, N.S., has rewritten the record books for players his age, but it is what he is projected to do in the pros that made him attractive to Reebok.
"The most important thing wasn't the dollar figure, but to have a long-term relationship," said Matt O'Toole, president and CEO of The Hockey Company, which is a Reebok subsidiary. "With a player like Sidney, we don't want to have a one-or two-year relationship. We want it to be for his career."
Reebok bought The Hockey Company, based in Montreal, and in doing so acquired its equipment brands CCM, Jofa and Koho, last year.
Reebok announced in January it was introducing its own line of equipment called Rbk. The company has signed NHL players Chris Pronger, Tony Amonte, Mike Modano, Curtis Joseph and twin brothers Henrik and Daniel Sedin.
In Crosby, Reebok gets a client who is actually playing, which most of the above players are not during the current NHL lockout.
"That's a particularly nice thing," O'Toole said. "He's on the ice for a full season this year and he's playing fantastic."
Reebok first contacted Crosby's family when he was 15, but the company can thank another NHL client, Patrice Bergeron, for helping seal the deal with Crosby.
Bergeron, a Boston Bruins forward playing in the AHL this season, was Crosby's linemate and roommate at the world junior hockey championship this year. It didn't hurt that Bergeron was tournament's leading scorer and MVP.
"I tried to pick his brain and learn a little bit about the company," Crosby said.
Crosby doesn't turn 18 until August, but he has become an industry. In addition to the Reebok deal, Frameworth Sports Marketing is licensed to sell official Sidney Crosby memorabilia. On EBay, there are pages of Crosby-related items for sale.
Brisson said he is working on other deals for Crosby, including a sports energy drink endorsement.
Reebok, based in Canton, Mass., also sells Rockport, Greg Norman and Polo Ralph Lauren footwear brands.
The company said sales in 2004 were $3.8 billion, up from $3.5 billion in 2003.