Most sports fans around the world would agree that Michael Jordan is synonymous with basketball. He is definitely an icon and arguably the greatest that has ever played the game. Many of his records may never be broken. What is cool about Michael Jordan, however, is that he has been able to remain famous now, some two decades after his first retirement. This speaks well for his staying power, as represented by the number of endorsements he continues to hold, leading to his reported annual income of $100 million dollars. As we know, a company does not shell out the big bucks that are required to snare a big time athlete such as Jordan lightly. The fact that Jordan is still the spokesman for the Hanes Company, then, says it all.
We all know that sports is a business, hence the existence of the website you’re reading this article on; but many neglect the absolute direct impact on the bottom line of companies who choose to associate within the athletic space and use endorsers like Jordan. One endorsement from the right athlete can literally transform a business and turn it into the revenue-producing machine. Sometimes a product will use an endorsement to introduce themselves to the world, Shaq & All Sport anyone ? In many cases, an athlete’s stardom, however, dies alongside their retirement. Every so often a special sportsman come along and continues to make a positive impact on the sport, long after he hangs up his uniform for the last time. Michael Jordan has turned into such an individual, and in return has become a power endorser and ambassador for the Hanes brand.
Jordan’s ability to transform is reflected in the fact that he continues to make more money in retirement than many athletes who are in the prime of their career. He has earned a most respectable $14 million with Hanes under the terms of a deal has held since 1992. One of the powerful aspects of his endorsement deals is that Jordan has never tried to create his own brand. He is seen as a loyal consumer, and that has spilled over into the brands that he endorses. With Hanes, for example, he does not endorse any other fashion-oriented product, besides his own Jordan Brand of course. That type of loyalty has enabled Hanes to target their men’s underwear line directly at their target consumer, all with Jordan in mind. It has resulted in a match made in heaven. Would MJ ever have been able to afford being the owner of The Charolette Hornets had he not secured endorsements like his longstanding Hanes deal?
An entire generation of consumer has now viewed Hanes as being the garment of choice by Jordan. This has resulted in tremendous sales, and the entire Hanes family is thankful for that. Jordan speaks to the power of today’s athlete to influence sales. If an athlete is respected by society at large, and they have name recognition, then his or endorsement means something. It is no longer about the underwear itself – it is about the athlete who is seen wearing it.