x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Win will not restore Roethlisberger's popularity

Marketing experts say the Pittsburgh Steelers star probably will not overcome his off-the-field notoriety even if he becomes a three-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback.

By tomorrow night, Ben Roethlisberger could be in rare company as a three-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback.

But marketing experts say the Pittsburgh Steelers star probably will not overcome his off-the-field notoriety – including two sexual assault accusations – and pick up the flurry of endorsements NFL champions typically enjoy.

"You don't build back trust with a one-game performance, even if it's the Super Bowl," said Bill Glenn, the vice-president of a Dallas-based sports-business firm. "I'd be surprised if there's a long line outside his agent's office even if he wins MVP."

Roethlisberger has had a minimal presence in advertising since he was accused in March of sexually assaulting a 20-year-old college student – the second time since 2008 that he faced assault allegations.

Georgia authorities declined to bring charges, but he received a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy.

His sturdy play since his return has won back the hearts of some Pittsburgh fans. But nationally, his image remains tarnished, marketing experts say.

"The best thing Mr Roethlisberger can do is have a very quiet week off the field and a very loud week on the field," said Kevin Adler, the chief executive of a Chicago-based sports consulting firm.

Even with a championship, Adler said, "there's a significant percentage of corporate America that would a still be a little gun-shy."

The challenge facing Roethlisberger is illustrated in ratings compiled by the Nielsen Co to gauge athletes' endorsement potential based on their appeal, name recognition and other factors. His score was above 140 in 2008 and is 24 now; by comparison, Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers's score is 39 and Peyton Manning's is 262.

A comparable system shows Rodgers ahead of Roethlisberger in endorsement potential and trust, even though the Steelers star is better known.