It was only a matter of time.
With athletes joining America's current Twitter craze and signing up for an account, a way to capitalize financially was soon to come.
But how? Followers aren't paying for their updates, and Twitter hasn't cut any deals with athletes.
Danica Patrick seems to have figured it out. Her recently launched Twitter page -- Patrick's first Tweet dropped May 17 -- was done in conjunction with her current watch sponsor, Tissot. Patrick's page will be decked out with the company's visual branding, and they'll get some exposure on her feed, according to Sports Business Daily. (So far, no mention of Tissot.)
Patrick isn't the only athlete thinking in such a light: Shaquille O'Neal recently skipped past all traditional media channels and announced on his Twitter feed he's now endorsing Enlyten, the electrolyte strip brand. Since then, Shaq -- who has more than 1 million followers on Twitter and counting -- has occasionally dropped links to the viral videos he's doing for the brand.
For the athletes, this makes sense. If followers and fans are going to direct their eyeballs to an athlete's Twitter page, sponsorship is a great idea to make some easy money. As long as an athlete's feed doesn't strictly become a stream of endorsements and buy-this-product-now chatter, followers and fans shouldn't be too affected by the subtle changes to these pages. The O'Neal and Patrick examples follow suit with this idea: There is no overkill on sponsorships.
But there is a downside here. Twitter has been hailed as the best place for fans to get a real, as-close-as-you-can-get feed on an athlete's thoughts and what's going on in his or her life.
Plenty of interesting athlete Twitter pages are still out there, but the days of all of them giving you a 100 percent authentic, noncorporate glimpse are coming to a close.
Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic are now up 3-1 in the Eastern Conference finals. And since the talk has been all Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, Howard stepped up on his blog to play the disrespect card after Game 3.
"I told ya'll the other day that we find it really disrespectful that everybody seems to be pulling for LeBron and Kobe to get to the Finals," he writes. "Every time I look at TV, it seems like that's all anybody is talking about. It's like nobody is even giving us a shot at winning this series, and we've used it as motivation.
"We're up 2-to-1 and we have a long way to go versus the Cavs, but hopefully we can mess up those plans of getting Cleveland and L.A. in the Finals. If the lil' ol' Magic make it, what will they say then?
"We really, really think we have the team and the talent to win a championship this year. Nobody out there on ESPN thinks that we can do it, but we think we have everything that it takes right now to bring that 'ship back to O-town."
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Like Howard, Giants catcher Bengie Molina is feeling a little cut down by the media and fans. You say he hasn't walked a lot this year? He says this:
"The bottom line is I'm an aggressive hitter," he writes. "I swing at pitches I think I can hit. When I see a pitch I can hit early in the count, I go for it. I swing at a lot of 3-1 pitches because they're pitches I can hit. I'm not waiting, hoping for a walk. Would you rather have a guy who has 40 walks but only 30 RBIs and five HRs, or a guy who walks only a few times but gets 90 RBIs and 15 HRs? I want to hit and score runs."
You say runners are stealing bases on him at will? He says this:
"Everything needs to click together," he writes. "No one player can make it happen alone. Last year, I had probably the best defensive year of my career -- five passed balls all season, five errors, and I threw out almost 40 percent of runners trying to steal, which was well above the league average.
"So it's kind of disappointing when I hear fans or guys on the radio taking me on for the steals. I'm the same player I was last year. As we get everyone working together, we'll catch more runners and teams won't be so quick to run on us."
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Washington Redskins tight end Chris Cooley spent his Memorial Day weekend celebrating his wedding anniversary … fishing on his boat.
"Christy and I spent a little more than two hours on the river today and by the end I did manage my first measly bass, caught it behind a rock in the middle of the river with a little green rattle trap lure," he writes. "Christy, who usually beats me on the river was skunked for the day. She did lose three lures though! Bass Pro Shops will be happy, I'll be sure to spend more money.
"Also, I need to mention that today is our one-year anniversary. How cool is it that my wife wanted to take me fishing. I love you baby! Now we eat year-old cake!"
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It's been about two months since eccentric 49ers long snapper Brian Jennings dropped an entry on his blog. Over the weekend, he emerged with these words of wisdom:
"In high school, they talk about toughness and commitment," he writes.
"In college, they talk about pride and courage.
"In the NFL, they talk about technique, unless you're on a losing team, in which case they start talking about pride again."