DALLAS — CNBC sports business reporter Darren Rovell’s Sports Biz blog is a must-read for anyone interested in the corporate side of the sports world. His Twitter is just as awesome. I caught up with Rovell earlier to discuss athletes and money, which go together like salt and pepper.
1. Not gonna lie, your twitter account is a go-to place for me on pretty much a daily basis. How big has twitter been for your career?
“Well from a journalism standpoint it’s been much easier to follow the wealth of information that comes across. It’s impossible to follow all the news that’s going on. So that’s number one. And two, as a disseminating tool it’s been great for me. Nothing is garbage — anything that I notice I can make a quick comment on. It’s also been a challenge as well, because I have to do TV for CNBC, I have to do a blog and twitter. And I’ve gotta make sure that they’re being put in the right place.”
2. Is the Super Bowl the biggest event of the year for you?
“It’s one of them. There’s obviously a lot of business going on. Corporate America is here and there’s so much behind the scenes that’s not covered. So I enjoy it even more when a lot of the other journalists are just asking the same questions, and I’m trying to find other angles that are dealing with the business of it all.”
3. Do athletes have too much money for their own good?
“I think they’re influenced by a lot of people in the way that they’re set up from a societal standpoint, with the posses and the people that surround them. And for some reason they don’t get the message that this money does go quickly. And although this time the union is trying to advise them to save their money, in some cases — if they don’t have that income stream and there is a lockout — it’s almost a little too late with how many cars they have in their garage.”
4. Do you see Michael Vick ever getting to a point at which he’s paid off his creditors and has become as rich as he was before the s— hit the fan?
“No, Michael Vick probably had before — with his Nike deal — maybe $5 million a year in endorsement deals. He has this small deal that he signed with Unequal Technologies [but] I don’t think Nike’s ever going to pay him big time, because Nike’s never going to come out with another shoe with his name on it. People love their dogs, sometimes more than actual people. And unfortunately I don’t think he’ll ever be forgiven by a sector of the population that would enable him to be a transcendent force that would be able to make real money.”
5. Who’s the best athlete endorser of all time?
“People have asked me that before and it’s kind of not a great question…”
“No, it has nothing to do with you — it has nothing to do with you. It has to do with the fact that it just doesn’t exist. And the reason why is, I would say Michael Jordan, but Michael Jordan didn’t do anything for Hanes Underwear, he didn’t do anything for Ball Park Franks, he didn’t do anything for Rayovac — they’re still behind Duracell in batteries. So probably for 80 percent of the products he endorsed, he didn’t do anything for them.”
What about Peyton Manning?
“Peyton Manning, you have Mastercard. Has he helped increase transactions? It’s very hard because a lot of it’s not quantifiable. But I do think that when it works, there are certain athletes who work with certain brands, and that’s when a deal really works. So I think it’s kind of a trick question to say, Is there an athlete who is the best of all time?”