May 24, 2005

Adam Nelson Wants a Sponsor

Adam Nelson, two-time Olympic silver medallist in the shotput, wants a new sponsor. For the right price, it could be you.

As noted at SLAM! Sports on Saturday, Nelson is auctioning off one month of his time as a spokesman for the highest bidder. It goes without saying that he is using eBay to run the auction (here it is), which is an interesting idea and may prove financially fruitful.

The bidding is (as of this writing) up to $5800, but doesn't close until Wednesday. Nelson is getting a fair bit of press, so the price may keep rising. It's unlikely that he will get this much interest every month, once the novelty wears off, but that doesn't mean that it isn't a good strategy. The major drawback, of course, is that he won't have much control over who he ends up "representing." He might just end up as a spokesman for Golden Palace, for example.

A common frustration for amateur athletes, and amateur sports federations too, is that it's very hard to squeeze cash out of corporate sponsors. While it is fairly easy to arrange for an "in-kind" donation — free clothes, free shoes, free sunglasses — actual money is reserved for the very upper echelons of amateur sport.

Here's a link to a nice article about corporate sponsorship for sports federations from


Sean Smith said...

Well, it is now Wednesday and the price has only nudged up to $6,000. More importantly, the reserve price has not yet been met. Presumably, this reserve would have been set at some sort of rounded number. If not $6,000, was it $7,500? $10,000? $20,000?

I think this is the most interesting part of the auction: Just how much did he expect to get? And what will be the difference between expectation and reality? Of course, we'll never know.

Amateur said...

Yes, it looks like $6000 is going to be around the final bid.

To me the most interesting question is whether he would be legally obligated, if the reserve price had been met, to do the deal. What if the winner was, say, an internet porn site? Would he be able to walk away?

Perhaps he set the reserve price very high so that he could refuse to sell himself if he didn't like the buyer. I am not a very experienced eBay user, but as I understand it the reserve price just gives the seller the option. In other words, he can still agree to the deal if he wants to.

Amateur said...

Hunh. Well, we may know more than we expected. There was a lot of action just at the closing, and reached a final bid of $12,000. The reserve was met, so now you know roughly where his expectations were, and I will find out who he'll be representing. Cool.

Sean Smith said...

Wow, that is a lot of money for what I don't think is a particularly great deal of exposure. I don't even think there will be a lot of novelty coverage after the fact -- there certainly wasn't when Boston's Fleet Center offered a similar naming rights deal on eBay. The novelty seemed to be in the fact that such a bid was available rather than that somebody actually ponied up the dough.

Amateur said...

It sounds like a lot of money to me, too, especially since in this June period he's only competing in the U.S.

On the other hand, depending who the winner is, the speaking appearance might be worth quite a lot.

I'm even more curious to find out who the winning bidder was. I can't find anything so far.

Amateur said...

And the winner is (reported on AuctionBytes.comMedivoxRx Technologies:

"MedivoxRx's premiere product [is] Rex-The Talking Prescription Bottle. Rex-The Talking Prescription Bottle allows users to hear recorded medication instructions and is ideal for the elderly, the visually impaired and cognitively impaired, or anyone who can't read or understand their medication label instructions."

An odd one. So the target audience is the elderly, the visually or cognitively impaired, and (presumably) their physicians. Which part of that audience is watching the shot put at the USA Track and Field Championships?