Those who thought that “Deflategate” would have hurt Tom Brady’s popularity will be surprised when they scan the NFL players union’s latest top 50 player sales list.
The New England Patriots quarterback topped the list as the player who sold the most officially licensed merchandise from March 1 through May 31, 2015. It was the first time Brady has ever ranked as the number one player, and also unseated his Super Bowl XLIX quarterback counterpart Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks. Licensed product categories, as spelled out by the NFLPA, include men’s, women’s, and youth game jerseys and t-shirts, player murals, and figurines.
Brady’s leader position can be boiled down to the headlines he has generated as the centerpiece of “Deflategate,” the controversy over deflated balls used by the Patriots in their AFC championship game. Brady and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell are currently tied up in a court battle over Brady’s looming four-game suspension over the controversy.
The apparent hit on Brady’s reputation, however, hasn’t dented his earning power. None of his sponsors, which include Under Armour (UA), Movado and Ugg, have pulled out of any deals with Brady, who earned $7 million from endorsements last year. One of them, Under Armour, is launching a new campaign that will feature Brady in the coming months.
“The way he is used is a little bit more like a model than some athletes,” Bob Dorfman, the executive creative director at Baker Street Advertising, told CNBC. “He’s good looking; it’s almost more fashion model kind of stuff … he still looks good wearing UGG boots; he still looks good wearing a Movado watch.”