Sports Stars' Branded Apps Hit the Mobile Market

Pro athlete-branded apps hit the mobile market
Photograph by Buda Mendes/Getty Images

John Shahidi’s five-employee startup, RockLive, wasn’t expecting a call from the world’s fastest man. The summer before last year’s Olympics, managers for Usain Bolt wanted the app developer to help enhance the sprinter’s brand for the London Games. With the Jamaican runner expected to win several gold medals (he ended up with three), his management wanted to make use of his online followers to increase his commercial value to sponsors such as Gatorade, Puma, and Hublot Swiss watches. Shahidi’s team built a simple action game, Bolt!, in which the athlete fights off pirates to claim his gold, with the occasional Gatorade energy boost. The free app has been downloaded more than 3 million times.

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