Joe Namath set a standard for shamelessness with a 1974 TV spot in which he posed, centerfold-style, in $1.69 women’s leggings. “Now, I don’t wear panty hose,” he intoned. “But if Beauty Mist can make my legs look good, imagine what they’ll do for yours.”

Joe Namath set a standard for shamelessness with a 1974 TV spot in which he posed, centerfold-style, in $1.69 women’s leggings. “Now, I don’t wear panty hose,” he intoned. “But if Beauty Mist can make my legs look good, imagine what they’ll do for yours.”

Sponsorship Bloopers

Broadway Hosed
Broadway Hosed

Joe Namath set a standard for shamelessness with a 1974 TV spot in which he posed, centerfold-style, in $1.69 women’s leggings. “Now, I don’t wear panty hose,” he intoned. “But if Beauty Mist can make my legs look good, imagine what they’ll do for yours.”

Disadvantage, Martina
Disadvantage, Martina

After Martina Navratilova revealed she was gay in 1981, her sponsors proved scandalously unsupportive. By her own estimate, the tennis star lost around $10 million in endorsements. Navratilova later said, “I was always told to lie low so I wouldn’t throw off potential sponsors.”

False Start
False Start

In the leadup to the 1992 Summer Olympics, Reebok backed two obscure U.S. decathletes, Dan O’Brien and Dave Johnson, asking, “Who will be the world’s greatest athlete, Dan or Dave?” Johnson quietly mustered a bronze medal and retired. O’Brien failed to qualify.

No Fans League
No Fans League

The ratings-challenged XFL (Xtreme Football League), created in 2001 by NBC and the World Wrestling Federation, lost its first sponsor, Honda, after only three weeks. Others followed suit, and the league took its final knee after just one season.

Revved Up
Revved Up

Viagra’s sponsorship of NASCAR’s No. 6 team in 2001 caused NASCAR Nation to blanch—then guffaw. “That Viagra car is always driven hard,” sang country music star Cledus T. Judd. The endorsement deal ended in 2004 after only two victories.

Juicin’ Giambi
Juicin’ Giambi

“All the muscle a man needs.” So read the tagline for Arm & Hammer’s poorly timed 2004 Ultramax deodorant ad campaign, featuring New York Yankees slugger Jason Giambi, who shortly after admitted to taking steroids and human growth hormone.

Subprime Timing
Subprime Timing

The New York Mets’ Citi Field opened in early 2009, in the wake of the financial crisis. Citigroup, a recipient of TARP funds, had agreed to pay the Mets $400 million over 20 years for the naming rights, leading some fans to baptize the stadium “Bailout Park.”

Out of the Woods
Out of the Woods

Among the many sponsors who dropped Tiger Woods after revelations in 2009 of his extramarital affairs, none seemed more vexed than Accenture. One of the consultancy’s pre-affair ads read: “Some watch. Some wait. Some pounce. Go on. Be a Tiger.”

Loose Cannon
Loose Cannon

After it was revealed in 2010 that All-Star Washington Wizards point guard Gilbert Arenas had flashed a gun in the locker room, he was dropped as the centerpiece of Adidas’s basketball marketing campaign. Traded to Orlando, Arenas hasn’t been heard from since.