Alexander Ovechkin: What the Superstar's New Endorsement Deal Does for the NHL

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 29:  Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals against the Carolina Hurricanes at the Verizon Center on March 29, 2011 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images
Mike RappaportAnalyst IISeptember 3, 2011

On Friday, Washington Capitals superstar Alexander Ovechkin announced that he signed a long-term endorsement deal with Nike.

Although the deal doesn't include on-ice equipment, Ovechkin will be "supporting all of the products that Nike makes—apparel, footwear, performance apparel, casual wear, accessories and other elements of the Nike family of products."

For Ovechkin, the endorsement deal makes perfect sense. Nike is arguably the most recognizable sports apparel brand on the planet, and outside of the NHL, many marquee players have deals with Nike.

From Nike's standpoint, they are getting the best available player in the league (as Sidney Crosby has an endorsement deal with Reebok) to promote their apparel. But even though Ovechkin's deal with Nike could attract hockey fans to Ovechkin's apparel, the NHL could also benefit from one of their stars endorsing products for one of the largest companies in the world.

It is no secret that the in terms of popularity, the NHL is fourth of the four major sports in the United States.

And while people buy Nike products endorsed by players such as Michael Vick, Derek Jeter and Kobe Bryant because they have seen them perform on the field, it doesn't mean that the Ovechkin and the league can't get exposure from his endorsement deal even if most people aren't familiar with what he has done on the ice.

With Crosby's status uncertain because of lingering symptoms due to a concussion, Ovechkin is the face of the league.

So, if the league is going to reach a larger or new demographic, then they should be glad that Ovechkin is now a part of one of the largest sports companies on the planet.

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