NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Mr. Rodgers is about to enter an exclusive neighborhood.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has often been mentioned in the same breath as Peyton Manning and Tom Brady when it comes to elite quarterbacks in the National Football League. But now that he's led the Packers to the Super Bowl title with a 31-25 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers and was named the game's Most Valuable Player on Sunday, experts say he'll be joining Messrs. Manning and Brady among the game's elite endorsers as well.
"'A-Rodge' stands to gain the most from a Super Bowl ring -- as much as $3 million a year in new endorsement deals," said sports marketing expert Bob Dorfman, exec VP-executive creative director for San Francisco-based Baker Street Advertising. "With Tom Brady and Peyton Manning on the downside of their careers, and [Pittsburgh quarterback] Ben Roethlisberger a marketing pariah, advertisers looking for the next big product-pitching QB could score with Mr. Rodgers."
In his annual Super Bowl Sports Marketers' Scouting Report, Mr. Dorfman rated only two players as "touchdowns," the highest of his ratings : Mr. Rodgers and Pittsburgh defensive back Troy Polamalu, who has an endorsement deal with Procter & Gamble's Head & Shoulders.
Mr. Roethlisberger was actually mentioned more frequently during the game than any other player by the Fox announcing crew Sunday night. According to research conducted by Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Joyce Julius & Associates, which specializes in measuring the scope of sponsorships across all forms of media, from kickoff through the postgame coverage, Mr. Roethlisberger's name was mentioned on 77 occasions, compared with 73 times for Rodgers.
But, as Mr. Dorfman noted, Mr. Roethlisberger has been under scrutiny after being suspended for the first four games of this season following allegations of sexual misconduct during the off season, the second time in two years sexual allegations have been made against the Pittsburgh quarterback.
Into the void steps Mr. Rodgers, who became just the fourth quarterback in Super Bowl history with 300-plus passing yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions in the big game. Mr. Rodgers has been a pro for six years, but has only been a starter for the past three after taking over the legendary franchise from a legendary quarterback, Brett Favre.
"He is going to make a lot of people forget about Brett Favre," said New York-based sports marketing expert Robert Tuchman. "Aaron Rodgers has tremendous marketing appeal as a Super Bowl champion in a Green Bay Packers uniform. National appeal. He no doubt will get rolling out the endorsements in time for next season -- if there is one."
The 2011 season is in danger of not happening. The collective bargaining agreement between the players and the owners expires March 4, and the owners have threatened to lock the players out if a deal is not struck. That could be a serious impediment to any NFL player with an endorsement deal.
But, assuming coolers heads prevail and the labor negotiations are completed in due time, Mr. Rodgers should cash in.
Mr. Dorfman said the Packers quarterback already has some factors in his favor: telegenic looks, a scandal-free past and, from a pop-culture standpoint, Mr. Rodgers is dating "Gossip Girl" star Jessica Szohr.
"He's on the upside of his career playing on a team with a bright postseason future," Mr. Dorfman said.
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