Michael Sam is in high demand

Updated: February 13, 2014, 12:09 PM ET
By Darren Rovell | ESPN.com

Since Missouri defensive end Michael Sam announced on Sunday that he is gay, his agent Joe Barkett has been inundated with calls, including those from Fortune 500 companies.

"Every time I'm on the phone, I'm getting phone calls," Barkett told ESPN.com. "There's always one from a company expressing their interest in Michael. Name any type of industry, we've probably heard from a company in their sector in the last 48 hours."

Barkett said all the interest is coming from mainstream companies, not gay brands that have a product or service to sell specifically to the gay population.

"We haven't really heard from companies that market specifically to the LGBT community," Barkett said. "It has been large companies who obviously support LGBT initiatives."

That doesn't surprise gay marketing strategist Bob Witeck, whose firm in Washington, D.C., has focused on marketing to the gay population over the past two decades.

"His true marketing potential isn't to gay people," Witeck said. "His true marketing potential will be reached by selling to consumers who appreciate him because of his individuality. These companies are looking to build new stories and Michael stands out."

Sam sent his first tweet at 8:02 p.m. ET on Sunday. He now has nearly 80,000 followers, more than any other potential 2014 NFL draftee except for quarterbacks Johnny Manziel, AJ McCarron and Aaron Murray.

Darren Rovell | email

ESPN.com Sports Business reporter

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