Commercial endorsements are proving to be a sweet deal for one of the National Basketball Association's most prominent rookie players. LeBron James continues to attract huge contracts off the court less than one year after he graduated from high school.
Just two weeks after Denver Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony backed the release of a caramel candy bar called "The Melo Bar," his fellow-rookie Lebron James agreed to a $5 million deal to endorse Bubblicious bubble gum.
The new deal brings James's endorsement deals to a total of $135-million. In addition to a highly publicized $100 million deal with Nike, the Cleveland Cavaliers star also has deals with Coca-Cola, Juice Batteries and trading card company Upper Deck.
Sydney Taylor represents Bubblicious and explains how the young basketball star was selected. "We picked LeBron James for a number of reasons. The first reason being that he loves to chewing Bubblicious bubble gum. And he is well known for chewing the brand on court," she said. "And he has just been a long-time fan of the brand. So we think that the tie-in with him really gives the deal authenticity and makes it a perfect fit for us."
A few years ago, Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant appealed to companies as an example of an athlete with a clean personal life. But Bryant's recent court battle against rape allegations has cost him millions of dollars worth of endorsements. Bubblicious has never before had an athlete represent its bubble gum, but Taylor says James seems to be a great choice.
"When we looked at the incremental value that he could bring to the business, we thought it was worth going after. And we did assess the risk," said Ms. Taylor. "But we thought that the benefits far outweighed the potential risks associated with the deal."
James will be featured in Bubblicious' advertising, including television and print campaigns and the product package. There is even talk of a new flavor inspired by James, and the possibility that he could be used to launch a new sports gum, creating the potential for him to earn even more money off the court.