PR is important to athletes because being an athlete validates celebrity reputation. In the industry of celebrity PR, reputation is everything. Given the risks of injury, and the money that can be made from endorsement deals, managing an athlete’s reputation properly is critical. The following athletes deserve recognition for their excellent manners with PR & reputation.
The oldest player in the ATP, Roger Federer is a dynamo of endorsement deals, earning over 58 million dollars in 2015 alone. Federer is one of the world’s highest paid athletes, and he took great advantage of that fact when in 2013 he partnered with his agent to form a new agency, Team8.
Always mindful of the value of being unique, Federer describes his approach as an attempt at a “boutique” agency with a small but stellar client-base. Representing himself and a handful of other players, Federer’s Team8 has already earned 11.8 million in commissions this year alone.
Women’s tennis champion Venus Williams does a lot for herself when it comes to image and PR. Her PR services are handled by Lisa Sorensen who has 20 years of experience and has a background working at Hollywood Boutiques and MTV.
Williams’ success comes from her accessible and confessional approach to PR. On her website she outlines a history of herself including highlighting details like her raw vegan diet (including her favorite restaurants), book deal, and her new line of clothing line Eleven.
Part of her success as a PR campaign comes both from her recognition as a star athlete and as a person with struggles and challenges. In her biography, she also outlines her history with Sjögren’s Syndrome, how it’s affected her life, and what changes she’s had to make in order to cope with the diagnosis. She’s an inspirational story that’s both approachable and a living icon of athletic prowess.
Perhaps the most successful PR athlete, Michael Jordan has an enormous resume of spanning from iconic “Be Like Mike” Gatorade commercials, starring in Space Jam which grossed over 230 million dollars at the box office, and the line of Jordan shoes.
Like Williams, Jordan’s PR focused on marketing Jordan the person as much as it focused on Jordan the athlete. One particularly memorable moment from Space Jam that really stuck out was the scenes with Jordan’s son, and this kind of personalization and humanization accessed a sympathetic and relatable characterization of Michael Jordan.