The Girls in a Million! How Jessica Ennis and Many of Britain's Top Female Athletes with the X-Factor Are Cashing in Even before Setting Foot Inside the Olympic Park; EXCLUSIVE

The Mail on Sunday (London, England), April 29, 2012 | Go to article overview

The Girls in a Million! How Jessica Ennis and Many of Britain's Top Female Athletes with the X-Factor Are Cashing in Even before Setting Foot Inside the Olympic Park; EXCLUSIVE


Byline: Alex Miller

BRITISH sport's glamour girls, Jessica Ennis, Victoria Pendleton, Jenna Randall, Keri-Anne Payne and Laura Bechtolsheimer, are banking hundreds of thousands of pounds in the run-up to this summer's London Olympics.

The sporting prowess and marketability of the five pin-ups -- and other Team GB athletes -- has helped them cash in on the Games by negotiating rises on their endorsements ahead of 2012 and, in some cases, taking on additional sponsors.

Clifford Bloxham, vice-president of Octagon, the sports sponsorship agency that represents stars including Michael Phelps and Paula Radcliffe -- as well as brands looking to become sponsors -- said: 'All Team GB athletes, no matter how much their endorsement deals are worth, have probably seen huge pay increases over this last year.'

The highest profile female British athletes typically take on up to four major endorsements, each worth up to [pounds sterling]150,000 a year. But the biggest names are understood to be earning substantially more this year.

As the unofficial face of Team GB, Ennis is one of a limited band of international athletes to have eight sponsors, meaning that with performance-related bonuses and previously negotiated sponsorship uplifts for Olympic year, she is on course to earn more than [pounds sterling]1million in 2012, possibly the first British female athlete to do so.

Her sponsors include Powerade, Aviva, BP and Olay, with these deals estimated to be worth up to [pounds sterling]150,000 each. Her kit sponsorship deal with adidas is thought to be worth up to [pounds sterling]320,000, including performance related add-ons, the biggest such deal for a Team GB athlete.

Ennis's agent, Jane Cowmeadow, told The Mail on Sunday: 'The Olympics have undoubtedly brought about an uplift financially. Jess is in the third and fourth years of many of her endorsement contracts, so while she hasn't taken on any new sponsors, many of her long-established sponsors have allowed for a financial uplift during 2012, while many of the current campaigns were actually filmed last year.'

Ennis, whose deal with Aviva requires her to work six days a year, added: 'It's a balancing act. You want to take advantage of your time in the spotlight but, of course, nothing can interfere with your training.' Pendleton has added three sponsors in the last 12 months, giving her a 50 per cent income boost, to nearly [pounds sterling]1m, but denies that she is simply cashing in on her last Olympics.

Her agent, Chris Evans-Pollard, said: 'While Victoria is doing quite nicely, she is first and foremost an athlete who wants to win medals and let's not forget, she is a nine-time world champion. She could be earning much more and has turned down sponsors with good brands for a lot of money. She actually spends very little time with sponsors, but perceptions can be misleading as a twohour photoshoot can be used for campaigns lasting 12 months.'

Bloxham added: 'All five are attractive, bubbly and, most importantly, likeable. They all have a degree of the X-factor about them. And, unlike male athletes, they don't have a lot of competition from other sports.

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The Girls in a Million! How Jessica Ennis and Many of Britain's Top Female Athletes with the X-Factor Are Cashing in Even before Setting Foot Inside the Olympic Park; EXCLUSIVE
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