- Darren Rovell, ESPN.com Sports Business reporter
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Mike Trout is finally ready to cash in on his stellar rookie season.
The 21-year-old Angels outfielder has signed his first big national endorsement deal with beverage brand BODYARMOR SuperDrink. Sources say Trout, who is making $480,000 this season, will be paid cash and also will receive a small equity stake in the upstart company, which is projected to hit $10 million in sales in its first year.
BODYARMOR chairman Mike Repole, who sold Glaceau vitaminwater and smartwater to Coca-Cola for $4.1 billion in 2007, said the company gave free product to the Angels to try out. Trout's agent, Craig Landis, soon entered into discussions with the company. But Landis said a deal wasn't signed until Mike's dad, Jeff, tried it out and they took the product to a nutritionist to make sure it was as good as promised.
"Mike wants to associate himself with five or six really good companies for a long period of time," Landis said. "We want his deals to have a moral consciousness, so that he can set an example for kids who want to follow in his footsteps."
Repole said he's thrilled to have "the next Mickey Mantle" endorse the young company's product.
"We really started up this business in January, and that's when people really started to learn more about Mike," said Repole, noting that Trout could appear on in-store point-of-purchase displays.
The sports drink brand, which is targeted to the 15- to 30-year-old with an active lifestyle, has a growing stable of athletes endorsing its product including New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy and New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.
Aside from BODYARMOR, Trout wears Nike shoes and batting gloves and has a contract to wear a Rawlings glove. Trout had an exclusive autograph deal for the past year with Major League Alumni Marketing, whose revenues go to some 3,500 former players who have opted into the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association licensing program. Landis said Trout recently re-signed with the company for another two years.
"We talked to other autograph and memorabilia companies," Landis said. "The financials of what we ended up with were good, but we also like the fact that it's going back to former major leaguers instead of just in the name of profit."
Trout uses bats from the Old Hickory Bat Co., wears a Phiten necklace, and frequently wears Oakley sunglasses, but he is not compensated by those companies, Landis said.
Landis will comb through endorsement proposals in the offseason but says he doesn't want to spend the offseason cluttering his client's schedule.
Said Landis: "He'll continue to focus on the field first. He has a 15- to 20-year career ahead of him; we don't have to do all the business deals in Year 1."
Through Wednesday night's game, Trout is hitting .329 with 27 home runs and 77 RBIs. Trout is trying to become the first player since Ichiro Suzuki (2001) to win the Rookie of the Year and the league MVP award in the same season.