Aug 21, 2009

Usain Bolt’s “media value” well over 250 million euros ($358 million)

Usain Bolt’s record-breaking wins at the track and field world championships in Berlin have boosted sales of his sponsor Puma AG’s goods, the company said.

“The products we have created for the world championships are sold out,” Chief Executive Officer Jochen Zeitz said in an interview today. They include a special Jamaica collection, his spikes worn in Berlin and a lifestyle-version of the shoes minus the spikes, Zeitz said. He declined to give a sales forecast.

Europe’s second-largest sporting goods maker, known for its leaping-cat logo, has sponsored the Jamaican athlete since the age of 16. Puma, controlled by French retailer PPR, also sponsors the Jamaican Olympic team and the country’s Olympic bobsleigh and track and field teams.

Bolt, 23 today, yesterday broke his own world record in the 200 meters in 19.19 seconds in Berlin. It was his second world mark of the meet, after he topped his own 100-meter standard in 9.58 seconds five days ago in the Olympic stadium. He set the previous 200 meter mark of 19.30 seconds at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, where he won three gold medals.

“It’s a historic achievement,” Zeitz said. “It’s obviously a dream come true to see him and Jamaica do so well. It emphasizes Puma as a brand.”

The Jamaican track & field team is leading the medal tally in Berlin, ahead of the U.S. and Russia, with five gold medals. The world championships end on Aug. 23.

Zeitz said analysts had estimated Bolt’s “media value” after the 2008 Olympics to be 250 million euros ($358 million). The media value is the equivalent amount of money Puma would have had to spend for similar exposure from regular advertising. Zeitz couldn’t say if that amount had changed after the successes in Berlin.

Puma, Europe’s second-biggest sporting goods maker, earlier this month posted a 16 percent decline in second-quarter profit because of increased discounting and said sales may start to fall in the second half.



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