Anthony Davis hasn’t joined LeBron James on the Los Angeles Lakers yet but he’s already drawing new endorsement deals. The 26-year old superstar is poised to announce a partnership with Ruffles potato chips Tuesday.
Davis, a six-time NBA All-Star with the New Orleans Pelicans, is expected to lay out the details of his unique “chip deal” in New York today.
The center/power forward will serve as a “creative partner” to Ruffles as it develops new products. He even helped design a custom-made, limited edition signature shoe called “The Ruffles Ridge Tops,” with The Shoe Surgeon in Los Angeles.
“The Ruffles brand is all about ‘owning your ridges’ and AD personifies that bold, unapologetic individuality,” said Sadira Furlow, vice president of marketing for Frito-Lay North America, in an interview with Front Office Sports.
Great sports ideas come from everywhere. Ruffles made NBA fans sit up and take notice when it sponsored an experimental 4-point line during the NBA’s Celebrity All-Star Game. Ruffles pledged $4,000 to charity for every 4-point shot made. The 4-point line was a huge hit. Everybody from Ray Allen to Carlos “Famous Los’ Sanford let it fly from downtown.
With NBA MVP’s like James Harden and Steph Curry shooting the lights out from 3-point range, who’s to say the league won’t experiment with a 4-point line in the future? After all, the league didn’t adopt the 3-point line until Magic Johnson and Larry Bird’s rookie season in 1979.
Davis paid homage to his sponsor’s creativity in a statement to Front Office Sports.
“Ruffles keeps finding new ways to make the game more fun for basketball fans and a ‘Chip Deal’ in itself is unprecedented – which is exactly why I wanted to do it,” he said. “From the design of ‘The Ridge Tops’ to new flavors and contests, I have a lot of ideas and Ruffles shares my excitement for making them happen.”
Davis has worn Nike sneakers since entering the league as a national champion with the Kentucky Wildcats. Furlow said they are collaborating with Nike on the Ruffles Ridge Tops.
“Both Ruffles and AD wanted the chip deal to be different and attention-grabbing, so we brought all our resources and energy to the table – including Nike, which believes in AD and fully supports his pursuits, and The Shoe Surgeon, who we’ve worked with in the past, to create The Ridge Tops.”
According to Furlow, the Davis/Ruffles deal will extend through the 2020 NBA All-Star Game in Davis’ hometown of Chicago, where the South Side native will play in front of friends and neighbors.
Since entering the NBA as the overall No. 1 pick in 2012, the 6-10 Davis has been sponsored by blue-chip companies ranging from Nike and Red Bull to Saks Fifth Avenue and ExxonMobil.
He’s always been business-minded. Known for his unibrow, Davis trademarked the phrases “Fear the Brow” and “Raise the Brow” upon entering the league, according to Darren Rovell of The Action Network.
Davis is now talking to Ruffles about his ideas for a new potato chip flavor, according to Furlow. “We’re working on getting him in the kitchen with our chef to make that a reality,” she said. “And of course NBA All-Star is in AD’s hometown of Chicago, so we’re already thinking about how to make that really special for fans.”
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With Davis poised to move to the Lakers in the entertainment capital of the world, the sky’s the limit as far as new sponsorship deals, according to Bob Dorfman of Baker Street Advertising, who tracks endorsement deals for athletes.
“His brand is going to take off. It’s Showtime for AD,” said Dorfman.
Since Adrian Wojnarowkski of ESPN broke the news of his blockbuster trade to the Lakers, Davis has been the hottest story of the NBA off-season. Dorfman estimates he’ll add at least $5 million a year to his marketing portfolio by moving to Los Angeles from the Big Easy. He’s also represented by James’ uber-agent Rich Paul, which should help open doors in Hollywood.
“The Lakers will be in the national spotlight for all the right reasons, which will lead to more national deals. Playing in one of the nation’s largest markets will score him more regional endorsements as well,” Dorfman said.