With the World Cup fast approaching in less than three months it makes perfect sense that fútbol legend Pelé is getting in on the endorsement action. Pelé was all smiles at a Rio de Janeiro mall, where he cut a ribbon to open Swiss watchmaker Hublot’s first store in Latin America. Hublot released a limited edition 45,000 reais ($19,230) watch.
While Pelé is the majority partner in Sport 10, which is a company created in 2012 that combined the rights to his brand named after his uniform number. Sport 10 has worked with major international companies through lucrative contracts and is run by Legends 10, a New York agency by CEO Paul Kemsley.
According to Bloomberg, “In the past 18 months, Pelé signed agreements with Procter & Gamble, Volkswagen, Emirates Airlines and Subway Restaurants as well as an agreement with Coca-Cola to appear at locations with the World Cup trophy.”
The endorsements stand to bring $25 million in revenue with appearances, merchandise and a biopic film on the legend’s life by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s Imagine Entertainment. He stands to make millions more by the close of the 2016 Olympic Games.
His endorsement with Hublot is close $500,000 to create the limited-edition watch with a Pelé inspired soccer player performing a bicycle kick. The company has plans for an advertising campaign.
Pelé became an icon for is impressive skills on the field in Sweden, Chile and Mexico. He gained international popularity when he became the only player to win three World Cups. In the 1970s when he signed with the New York Cosmos in the United States his popularity grew internationally as the first attempt to bring soccer to America.
Although Pelé stands to profit from his legacy and contribute to the success of the World Cup all are not pleased. The World Cup has been under great protest by many Brazilians because it is viewed as financially irresponsible when the country is lacking in healthcare, public transportation and residents have been displaced for the festivities. Some have gone on to call Pelé the ‘traitor of the century’ for his affiliation with these brands while many people have suffered for the World Cup to take place in Rio de Janeiro.
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