Since the minute he has stepped onto the football field, he has help lead Florida State to a 27-1 record and stats that many believe are only possible on Madden. He finished his career at FSU with 562 of 851 passes completed for 7,964 yards, 65 touchdowns and 28 interceptions.
These incredible stats have unfortunately been overshadowed by his actions off the field. Some of the most notable are the Sexual assault allegation, Gun complaint, shoplifting incidents, and vulgar comments at Florida State University’s Student Union.
As the 2015 NFL Draft approaches, many are wondering if those off the field incidents will hinder his marketability and endorsement potential. Based on recent trends on players with off the field issues entering the NFL Draft (i.e. Johnny Manziel, Dez Bryant, Manti Te’o and several others) the biggest factor is talent and potential growth at the next level.
When focusing on Jameis Winston…his 6’4 frame, Heisman Trophy, and his his ability to consistently lead a team to victory, and his big smile (much like Cam Newton) will sit well with companies and open doors that many believe are closed.
A proven ability to win at the highest level will result in endorsements (especially the NFL) even if the athlete is proven to have a rocky off the field reputation (Marshawn Lynch, Dez Bryant, Ben Roethlisberger is a great example of this).
Villain In Sports
Jameis Winston’s off the field incidents have made it easy for the media and fans to give him the label as a villain. While many would believe that would be detrimental to his image, villains have proven to have great marketing potential. A perfect example of a villain after his exit from Cleveland is Lebron James. Tying in our point earlier, his ability to win and excel in his sport alongside his villain label made him a marketers dream, becoming one of the most talked about athletes to ever exist.
What Makes A Villain Attractive to Companies?
With the way media highlights drama and propaganda, the villain is guaranteed to be headline of every newscast. From local new stations to ESPN.. not to mention TMZ, Terez Owens and seemingly every sports media outlet will be all over every storyline that surfaces about that villain.
Much like Lebron, Jameis Winston has mirrored this same mold as he has excelled in his sport (unlike any other NCAA quarterback has). Jameis Winston is projected to be drafted #1 overall in the 2015 NFL Draft. The emphasis being the NFL… unlike other professional sports, professional football will always draw endorsers no matter how the athlete is perceived to the media.
NFL Players Endorsements
A great example of an NFL player who has excelled on the field, but has a poor relationship with the media and comes off as difficult is Marshawn Lynch. The star running back for the Seattle Seahawks recently signed a lucrative deal with Skittles. While many companies would run the other direction, Skittles took on the challenge and it has paid off immensely as they have gotten more camera time than they ever have thanks to Marshawn Lynch.
During Super Bowl XLIX cameras zoomed in on Lynch eating Skittles on the sidelines and not to mention the announcers couldn’t stop talking about him eating it. If any company made out big this Super Bowl XLIX, its Skittles as other organizations were paying big money for a commercial and Skittles had multiple slots thanks to Lynch.
What to Expect for Jameis Winston
As you can whether you are a villain, have a love/hate relationship with the media, struggle with off the field issues, and/or just can flat out play football – endorsers will always give you an opportunity especially if it means they can grow their brand recognition (Much Like Skittles has been able to do) as well as drive revenue/increase profits.
Look for Jameis Winston to have companies gambling on him especially early on in his NFL career.
Watch Lynch Eating Skittles during the Super Bowl: