Dick Harmon: Jimmer Fredette takes first step into business world with poster

Jimmer takes first step into business world with poster

Published: Friday, April 8 2011 11:00 p.m. MDT

"I think the system places a big temptation in front of kids right from the start. Kids want their families to see them play, and it must be very difficult for many of the kids, who have depended on and are very close to their families, to be in a strange place, working hard, knowing their family can't come to see them play, and in many cases, not even watching them on TV.

"That would have been heartbreaking for our family," Al said.

"Is the NCAA a nonprofit organization or do they make a lot of money on these kids? They want these kids to stay for four years but in many ways they make it very difficult for them to do so."

Requests for Jimmer to endorse products started coming to the Fredettes about Jan. 1, 2011.

"We simply told people we could not discuss endorsements until Jimmer's career was over," said Al.

In the past two weeks, those making requests have returned.

These include offers for a restaurant to be named "Jimmer's Place," a travel business, several offers for posters, a book, speaking engagements, appearance engagements, with all expenses and travel, plus a sizeable amount of cash, paid by the company or corporation. There have been people calling who say they can sell Jimmer clothing on websites, and people wanting to set up autograph sessions and pay him per autograph.

"I can't name some of these because they are currently in negotiations," said Al.

The strangest request came from the BYU Bookstore on campus. "They called last week and asked if they could get permission to sell Jimmer hats, T-shirts and other items through the store. They said they had the rights as long as he was a BYU player, but that ended with Jimmer's last game. We are close to getting that done."

Al met with a Glens Falls city councilman, who is a longtime friend. The city is considering a summer parade for Jimmer and other athletes. On Tuesday, NBC TV contacted Jimmer about a golf tournament it sponsors in the summer. On Wednesday, a family advisor told Al he would have two or more offers to discuss with the Fredettes.

Glens Falls did a documentary on Jimmer's hometown life earlier this year, but they could not use his name or image anywhere in the documentary due to NCAA regulations. "We have not seen the final product yet, but it will be done soon and will be very interesting," said Al.

A film crew from BYU traveled to Glens Falls last summer to shoot a piece used by BYU during the season and on a website posting to promote BYU and the basketball program.

"This took a considerable amount of time but there was no real expense to us," said Al.

It is difficult to estimate how much Jimmer is worth as a professional. Some estimates are at least $5 million to $7 million a year. But the family recognizes the amounts are guesses, and much depends on Jimmer's worth as a player on the court at draft time. Could be more. Or less.

I discussed this with several marketing experts tied to sports. There are so many variables involved that it's a bottle that can't be filled right now, in April.

Will Fredette be a lottery pick or find himself chosen later in the first round? How much playing time will he get in the NBA? What team will draft him? Who needs his skills? Is he a role player, bench player or novelty specialist? How much value is in his image and name? What endorsements can he do and for how much?

Shoe contracts with basketball players are cash. Football players taken early in the first round also get shoe-endorsement cash, but football players taken in the bottom of the first round can make about $100,000, with most of that in shoes. Chinese companies are coming to the U.S. and throwing around outrageous amounts of shoe- and apparel-contract money to NBA and NFL players. So sometimes there are offers from more than Nike or Adidas.

There is a lot of hot air expelled in the name of public relations. One agent told me that reports of Auburn Heisman Trophy winner Cam Netwon receiving $1 million from Under Armour is "highly inflated."

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