Making the score

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What the experts say marketers should look for in a celebrity athlete endorser:

The right sport-endorser should play a sport that your target market likes. Ideally, the sport itself reflects some attribute (like speed, toughness) that connects with the brand.

A winner-success on the field and even in post-sports career. Marketers look to tap into that aura.

Clean living-but not too clean. Some brands are looking for a certain edge, so an aggressive playing style or a history of acting out may be desirable.

Articulateness-helps if endorser can speak in sentences. Star athletes tend to be very coachable.

Likes your brand-for equipment deals, like shoes, this is easy to ensure. For non-endemic products, say deodorant or financial services, the athlete must be believable.

Personality-a winning attitude, outgoing nature and some (but not too much) humility. The more likable the athlete is in person, the better.

Good looks-may seem shallow, but consumers like a pretty face.

Marketing savvy-an athlete who's sharp enough to comprehend your marketing goals and see how to mesh them with his own aspirations for self-promotion.

Right portfolio-an athlete whose portfolio of other endorsement deals doesn't compete with yours. Best if other packages reflect values that reinforce those of your brand.

The right price-endorsement deals can range from a few thousand dollars to the multiyear, multimillion-dollar deals. There's a grateful athlete for nearly every budget.