Lochte Scandal Results In Lost Sponsors

By Victoria Robertson on August 27, 2016
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By now, you’ve inevitably heard of the scandal involving several of the U.S. men’s Olympic swim team members and a rumored mugging that wasn’t, but what exactly does this mean for the future of these athletes?

For Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte, this could be far more detrimental than meets the eye.

By Chan-Fan (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

For one thing, it was recently reported that four of the major sponsors of Lochte actually walked away from him this past Monday, pulling their sponsorship in light of recent events.

These four sponsors, Speedo, Polo Ralph Lauren, Airweave and Gentle Hair Removal have pulled their sponsorship off Lochte, completely severing ties in light of the recent allegations against him.

These cut ties came after Lochte admitted to lying about being robbed at gunpoint while attending the Olympic games in Rio, a country that is already very sensitive about their crime rates and desperately trying to make the country a safer place.

So suffice it to say, this accusation hit home with the country, and they didn’t take it lightly.

And neither did Lochte’s sponsors.

According to Speedo:

“While we have enjoyed a winning relationship with Ryan for over a decade and he has been an important member of the Speedo team, we cannot condone behavior that is counter to the values this brand has long stood for. We appreciate his many achievements and hope he moves forward and learns from this experience.”

As far as Ralph Lauren goes, the company had only signed Lochte for an endorsement deal specifically for the 2016 Olympic games in Rio. According to the company, they will not be renewing said contract.

Ralph Lauren has also gone so far as to remove a photo of Lochte wearing an Olympic medal from its Twitter homepage on Monday.

And last, but certainly not least, Airweave, the company that provided mattresses for the U.S. Olympic teams during the 2016 Olympics in Rio, said that they will also be ending their partnership with Lochte following the games.

In the agreement, Airweave’s partnership with Lochte was “in support of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games,” freeing the company from further partnerships with the swimming star.

However, Lochte is still found all over the Gentle Hair Removal website. The company made Lochte the figurehead of their advertising campaigns back in April when they signed the deal with him, and he appeared in a promotional video for them as well. In the video, Lochte says this service is “the best thing that’s ever happened. I don’t have to worry about shaving anymore.”

He also tweeted about the company’s hair removal services on August 17, stating, “It’s permanent, fast and nearly painless.”

However, Gentle Hair Removal’s parent company, Syneron-Candela (ELOS) has made an announcement that the company will join the other three in severing ties with Lochte.

According to ELOS, “We hold our employees to high standards, and we expect the same of our business partners. We wish Ryan well on his future endeavors and thank him for the time he spent supporting our brand.”

So rewind, what happened? And why are all of these sponsors reacting so strongly?

Back in Rio, Lochte and three teammates from the U.S. men’s Olympic swim team claimed to be robbed at gunpoint after a party. However, it was later revealed that the four athletes had allegedly vandalized a gas station. The Brazilian authorities denied robbery allegations.

On Friday of last week, he apologized and said that he should have been “more careful and candid” from the beginning.

And on Saturday, in an interview with NBC, Lochte said, “I over-exaggerated that story and if I had never done that we wouldn’t be in this mess.”

Another statement from the star athlete on Monday said he respects the decision made by Speedo to end his sponsorship.

In his statement, he said, “I am grateful for the opportunities that our partnership has afforded me over the years. I am proud of the accomplishments that we have achieved together.”

While Speedo’s initial standpoint was to stay out of the matter entirely, claiming their policy is not to comment on ongoing legal investigations but that they would be following the situation, on Monday, they made their decision.

The company said it would donate $50,000 from Lochte’s fee to a charity in Brazil: Save the Children.

And while Macy’s was also rumored to have pulled away from Lochte, this has been proven false. According to the company after removing Lochte advertisements from the store, this has nothing to do with the issue at hand, but rather is a result of a scheduled marketing change in the stores.

Still, the removal of Lochte’s picture advertisements is easily read as a result of the situation at hand.

However, according to Macy’s, “As scheduled, we are transitioning out all Olympic visual as the games ended yesterday, and we are moving into our fall fashion message.”

Score one for Lochte?

Only time will tell.

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Victoria is a dedicated writer who graduated from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She currently writes freelance pieces for various sites and works in Marketing for Myndbee Inc., promoting their current mobile app, Picpal.

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