(screen shot of NFL.com/superbowl/46)

Alright, we are on a bit of a sports kick. It may seem slightly idiosynchratic, but after all…
it IS the Super Bowl. Below is a special post from Mike Principe, CEO of The Legacy Agency (in London and New York), whose clients include Yankees’ CC Sabathia, Red Sox’s Carl Crawford, NFL Hall of Famers Troy Aikman and Steve Young, golfer Jim Furyk, and many other prominent current and former athletes.

So grab a hero or a grinder (depending on which team you want to win); enjoy the post and the Big Game:

Bloomberg Businessweek recently released its Power 100, and of the over 3,000 athletes reviewed, three NFL quarterbacks, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, and Tom Brady, came out on top. What do they have in common, other than a Super Bowl win? They were carefully marketed to the right companies within their comfort zone, and as a result had very selective and effective brand partnerships.

Sunday’s Super Bowl has all the makings of a huge success — two major markets, great personalities, a compelling build up to the game, huge global ratings potential, and brand partners who have spent millions in activation dollars leading up to the game. So with all that success already locked down, how can athletes benefit even more from the bounce back effect the Super Bowl will have on them as individuals? Who will be the marketing stars that will emerge from the game?

Here are a few  thoughts on how athletes can break through.

1. Have the plan ready to go. Elite player reps should already be engaged with a brand so that they can hit the ground running when a noteworthy play is made or the team wins.

2. Understand the under-marketed brands. Develop a list of non-NFL affiliated brands that have not yet allocated dollars, but plan to spend around a key moment.

3. Know the athlete. The athlete needs to understand and value the partnership for it to be successful. Often times there is a rush for dollars, and it forces athletes into situations or partnerships that are neither good for the athlete nor the brand.

4. Go International. Sport is multinational, and the appeal in any plan should not just be to an American audience. The more planning that shows the personalities of these stars on a global level with the commonality of sport, the better.

Despite what some may believe, these deals aren’t done in with a handshake in the hallways underneath Lucas Oil Stadium. The real marketing stars coming off Sunday’s game will be those who are selective, well-leveraged, and understand how to engage with brands and fans in the mediums available today.