Monday, September 17, 2007

Who's Going to Top Chastain's Strip

What with the Women's World Cup now in full swing, thought it would be timely to post about an article that I came across. It's about Chastain's shirt removal after she scored and the US won the World Cup. Turns out, Nike was already developing a sports bra for women soccer players. Then, Brandi rips off her shirt and Nike sped up production. Didn't hurt either that Brandi ended up on the cover of SI without her shirt--did have the bra on, it's not Playboy. Her strip is interesting in terms of the economics of soccer and it's a girl taking of her shirt--even though I wish it was Mia doing the shirt taking off. Sure, it's not the 'bro' or the 'mansear' but the sports bra--but a critical piece of clothing for women's soccer players no doubt. You try running...

Today, there's an English women's soccer player who takes off one of her shoes after she scores a goal. What player is going to top that or Chastain, and rip of another part of their clothing? I doubt it will be one of the North Korean players but I'm guessing it will happen. I remember when the FIFA president said women's soccer players should wear shorter shorts--I think they are now, thanks to Nike.

If you caught any of the Emmy's last night hopefully you saw the best part, Rainn Wilson singing a Kanye West song - Stronger, well he's also taking of his clothes for Nike and Women's Soccer. To clarify, that's Rainn Wilson from the Office doing the disrobing for Nike and not Kanye.

But here's the Chastain article:

But whether spontaneous ebullience or planned product placement, the star's move has exposed, in addition to her rippling abs, a whole set of issues related to female athletes and body image and earning power. And it has brought instant attention to a piece of clothing that is humble and practical – not a traditional bra of shine and lace and cleavage, but a sturdy compression garment. The sports bra is the cloth symbol of Title IX's success. Last year, $230‚million worth of them were sold, up from $205‚million the year before.

Only about a dozen female athletes in the United States have significant endorsement contracts, and they range from only $75,000 to $350,000 – a pittance compared with male athletes' earnings – says Bob Williams, president of Burns Sports, a Chicago marketing firm that matches advertisers with athletes. Chastain's agent, John Courtright, said last night he expects to usher her to the top tier of those athletes.

He mentioned WNBA players and soccer teammater Mia Hamm, whose Nike shoe contract and Gatorade work help bring her an estimated $1 million in off-field income and said, "I would like to get her to that level."