Building a sponsorship portfolio for a big-time client is harder than it may seem. The risk of oversatuation is real, and when agents grow too eager by accepting every endorsement in sight, they can sometimes damage a player’s reputation as well as their psyche, which translates to poorer on-field play and fewer sponsorships, a potential cycle of misfortune.
Thankfully for Kansas City Chiefs star quarterback Patrick Mahomes, his ace agenting team of Leigh Steinberg and Chris Cabott have taken a measured approach with sponsors, being very selective and refraining from plastering Mahomes on every billboard in sight too early into his career. In fact, Steinberg waited a year before ramping up Mahomes’ endorsements.
Mahomes was glued to the bench for the majority of his rookie season behind veteran Alex Smith, but after he was entrusted with the starting job this year, Mahomes exploded with a monster season. The current MVP favorite threw for 5,097 yards and 50 touchdowns, with plenty of breathtaking throws along the way.
Such massive success at such a young age can turn into a cautionary tale, but Mahomes has a strong support system around him, as detailed by the Kansas City Star’s Brooke Pryor. Mahomes is down-to-earth with a humble mother and former MLB pitcher for a father who conducted mock interviews with Mahomes when he was 11 years old.
Steinberg, founder of Leigh Steinberg Sports and Entertainment who inspired the movie “Jerry Maguire”, is a battle-tested agent who, along with the younger Cabott, have slowly began to ramp up Mahomes’ sponsorships as the 23 year old’s profile grows.
“We cannot over promote,” Steinberg said, stating he values relationships over transactions. “The point is not to saturate so people become tired of Patrick. There’s a timing with how much shows up on television or social media and the rest of it.”
Mahomes has chosen brands that make sense and serve an actual purpose. Take Heinz Ketchup, for example. It all started when ESPN’s Seth Wickersham reported Mahomes’ love for the popular condiment, and before long, Mahomes signed a deal with Heinz.
Steinberg’s long term goal is for Mahomes to be relevant 20 years after he retires. Per Pryor, Mahomes already has deals with Adidas, Community America Credit Union, Panini Trading Cards, Airshare, SSM Auctions, TicketsForLess, Bose headphones, Hyvee, Advocare, Goodcents and Deli Fresh Sub.
But through it all, Mahomes stays humble and reserved, while Steinberg never strays from his core marketing tenets, taking it one day at a time. You can bet that to stay as is.
“[With Patrick], you have a really special young man who aspires to be a role model, wants to make a difference in the world, is very sensitive to the feelings of others, [and] is very, very bright and very giving.”