Michael Phelps Will Still Be Seen In His Speedo
Phelps is still tops with with the companies despite being caught with face firmly implanted in pipe. Speedo said: "Michael Phelps is a valued member of the Speedo team and a great champion. We will do all that we can to support him and his family." Omega seconded that emotion, calling the scandal a "nonissue" and saying it was "strongly committed" to its relationship with Phelps.
Phelps also got some shout-outs from his Olympic teammates. Mom-phenom Dara Torres told the AP, "This in no way, shape or form diminishes anything he's done." And Mark Spitz, whose Olympic record Phelps broke in Beijing, said he feels badly for Michael.
Robert Boland, a professor of sport management at New York University, said Phelps's reputation "is absolutely damaged by this." "Given the economy, a lot of companies have pulled back on sports marketing deals," he added.
Typical endorsement agreements include "morals clauses" that allow sponsors to terminate deals if they feel the athlete has behaved poorly in public.
Boland said he expected some companies would use that clause to opt out of their deals eventually, because of the recession and the likelihood the companies signed their endorsement deals in September, when the global economy was in much better shape than currently.
Analysts said companies like Speedo, which makes swimsuits and other swimming equipment, tend to stand by athletes so long as they do not generate major scandals that violate public trust, because they offer a strong platform for communicating the corportate brand name and message to the public.