Usain Bolt signs athletics’ “biggest ever” sponsorship deal

Sprinter Usain Bolt has extended his sponsorship deal with Puma, Europe’s second-largest sporting-goods maker, until the end of 2013 in what has been reported as the most-lucrative endorsement ever for a track and field athlete.

Marketing experts estimate the deal will earn Bolt at least $15 million over three years, a figure that would eclipse what is thought to be the biggest current deal involving an athlete – Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva’s five-year deal with Li Ning, worth $1.5 million per year.

Bolt will play a “pivotal role” in Puma’s marketing for the 2012 London Olympic Games, Germany-based Puma said in a statement.

“Usain Bolt has been a revelation,” said Puma chairman Jochen Zeitz. “He has shined a global spotlight on the sport; his winning personality and phenomenal physical prowess are a unique combination. Usain has been a tremendous force for the Puma brand.”

Bolt, who was first sponsored by Puma in 2003 when he was 16 years old, won three gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Puma said last year that the 100-metre and 200-metre world records Bolt set during last year’s Berlin World Championships had media value for the company of more than $105 million.

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