Michael Jordan. LeBron James. Tiger Woods. And now Megan Rapinoe. What they all have in common are being the recipients of Sports Illustrated's coveted Sportsperson of the Year Award.
Where they obviously very much differ is that one of them is not like the others. As only the fourth woman in the award’s 66-year history to win it unaccompanied, one would think corporate America would be falling all over itself to sign Rapinoe up for mega-million sponsorship deals and other potentially lucrative marketing campaigns.
Yet Rapinoe steps up to the podium with but one sole brand backer - Budweiser - and an ad campaign all but daring other big brands to step into the 21st century and sponsor not only a female athelete, but a female team, sport, and league. With the Olympics seven months away, Rapinoe certainly knows what being in the limelight could mean for coporate America.
“Through our [U.S. Soccer contract] we are not able to secure our financial futures. In order to [do that] you have to win everything, catch lightning in a bottle, like this summer. Then you can blow up. But to secure your financial future you have to undevote yourself to your sport, which does not put you in a position to catch lighting in a bottle again.”