MESA, Arizona, April 23. IN a move that proved to send shockwaves through the sport, Tripp Mickle of the Sports Business Journal broke news that Michael Phelps has parted ways with longtime sponsor Speedo.
“I don’t have any swimsuit deals right now,” Phelps said at a press conference just held in Mesa. “The [Speedo] deal ended last year, and I’m considered a free agent at this point.”
Speedo has released the following statement regarding the end of the relationship:
The celebrated relationship between Speedo, the world’s leading swimwear brand, and Michael Phelps, which has spanned more than 12 years, formally concluded at the end of 2013.
When Speedo signed Michael to his first endorsement deal at age 15, becoming his first-ever sponsor, we believed that he had the potential to change the sport of swimming forever. He has certainly achieved that, becoming undeniably the most successful Olympian of all time.
We are incredibly proud to have worked with and supported Michael throughout his career and of the fact that he chose to race in Speedo’s high performance swimsuits and equipment as he rewrote the record books in Sydney, Athens, Beijing and London, winning an unprecedented 22 Olympic medals (18 gold, 2 silver and 2 bronze).
We are also proud that our partnership went beyond a traditional endorsement deal with Michael using the $1 million bonus he earned from Speedo for his record medal haul in Beijing to start the Michael Phelps Foundation.
Though the partnership with Michael has ended, he will always be a part of Speedo’s history and we wish him well in the future.
From partnering with rising stars, like Mack Horton (AUS) and Olympic champions such as Ryan Lochte (USA), to our sponsorship of national federations including USA, Australia and China and countless local swim programs, Speedo is a passionate and committed supporter of swimming at every level.
Speedo has been the choice of champions since 1928, and as the road to Rio continues, we continue to pioneer new technologies that will help swimmers achieve their full performance potential.
As of right now, Phelps warmed up in an Arena short-legged brief today at the Arena Grand Prix in Mesa, while there has been speculation in the past about Phelps’ sponsor Under Armour potentially entering the market place in some form or fashion. Nothing concrete as of yet, but anyone who gets exclusive rights to Phelps during his comeback is going to have a strong brand name to work with.