Richard Sherman drawing ad interest
Heated postgame interviews by Richard Sherman made him a polarizing figure, as media and fans alike debated the Seattle Seahawks cornerback's tone and behavior following a tip that led to the team sealing its Super Bowl bid in the final seconds of the NFC Championship game on Sunday.
But Jamie Fritz, who secures marketing deals for Sherman, said that interest in his client from corporate America has only increased.
"We live in a world where so many are politically correct, so many are all about media training," said Fritz, whose Fritz Martin Management company is based in Las Vegas. "There's one thing that you can count on from Richard and that is that he's always going to speak his mind."
Sherman not only owned the media spotlight after the game on Sunday and into Monday -- his Twitter followers have grown from 268,000 to 567,000 within 24 hours of his rant -- he also owned commercial time. Both Nike and Beats By Dre debuted national commercials featuring Sherman on Sunday.
"Richard Sherman is winning right now," said Omar Johnson, head of global marketing for Beats By Dre. "If you look up 'Beats By Dre' and Sherman on Twitter, there's like one tweet per minute, and it's all organic conversation. We're rivaling some of the biggest brands that are out there thanks to the conversation that he generates."
The headphones brand played both cards in the NFC Championship game, as they also count San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick as an endorser. When the Seahawks won, the brand switched Monday's advertising only to Sherman's ad, which features the cornerback answering questions in a media scrum.
"What people see in the ad is authenticity, which is how he is in real life," Johnson said. "He's complex, he's cerebral, he can be super articulate and he has a lot of emotion. That's why he's valuable to us."
A private signing with Sherman by Washington-based Mill Creek Sports sold out on Saturday night, but owner Scott Mahlum said he wished he had more time with Sherman. Mill Creek sold 300 autograph tickets for Sherman, starting at $79, but said he could now sell at least 400 more.
"He's definitely bigger locally and nationally today than he was yesterday," Mahlum said.
A couple hours after the game ended, one of his signed Panini rookie cards sold for $1,475 on eBay.
And his jersey sales are picking up too. Through December, Sherman's Seahawks jersey is the 13th best selling jersey in the league, the highest he has ever been. He's also the only defensive player in the top 15.
Besides Beats By Dre and Nike, Sherman has a deal with CenturyLink that has put his face all over Seattle -- on radio and television and even on local buses.
For his part, Fritz said he's kept a lot of companies interested in Sherman on the sidelines through the season and he and his client will weigh the risk of holding brands off a little bit more in order to perhaps command Super Bowl champion prices.
"Sure Richard talks a big game, but he walks the walk too," Fritz said. "Marketers are looking for story tellers to drive purchase decisions. In Richard Sherman, they have a guy from Compton who went to Stanford who became a first team all-pro in his second season."
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