After Derek Jeter’s 3,000th hit sailed over the left-field wall and into the cheering stands on Saturday — making him the 28th player in Major League Baseball history to achieve 3,000 hits and only the second player to have that hit be a home run — the Diamond Vision display ”showed DJ3K merchandise flying off the shelves at Yankee Stadium souvenir shops.”
It was a compelling manifestation of Derek Jeter’s marketability. In fact, according to USA Today, Derek Jeter is “one of the most marketable athletes on the planet.” But how can that be? He’s not a flashy power hitter and he’s not living it up in Hollywood. So, what’s his appeal? Simply put, it’s his professionalism.
As USA Today explains, ”Jeter’s never been involved in any major scandals — unlike golfer Tiger Woods or teammate Alex Rodriguez. He’s never damaged his own personal brand with a media stunt that backfired on him like LeBron James’ 'The Decision.' Despite the hot glare of the tabloid media in New York, the single Jeter has somehow managed to keep his private life private.”
Former Yankees manager, Joe Torre, recalled, ”I trusted him more than any other player I had managed. I trusted him to be prepared mentally and physically every day, and to prioritize winning above all else. I trusted him to say the right thing, when talking to a teammate or the media. I trusted his instincts and his calm under the greatest pressure.”
An important, but secondary, reason for Derek Jeter’s marketability is that he is fortunate to have played his entire career for the New York Yankees at a time when they have been good, winning four World Series championships.
Howard Smith, senior vice president of licensing for Major League Baseball, explains, ”Look, let’s face it. He plays one of the most marketable positions on arguably one of the most marketable sports franchises in the world. He does it quite well and he does it in a manner that makes Yankees fans proud. The fact of the matter is, there isn’t a product in the mix where Jeter hasn’t done pretty well for Major League Baseball.”
Now, after being the first Yankee to reach the milestone of 3,000 hits, Jeter is reaping the benefits of his professionalism and good fortune. According to a partnership between E-Poll Market Research and The Nielsen Co., Jeter has the highest overall endorsement potential of anyone on the All-Star roster, with an “N-Score” of 165. To put that in perspective, an N-Score of 30 or higher is considered good and the second highest rated All-Star (Alex Rodriguez) has an N-Score of 35.
This looks to be Derek Jeter’s marketing moment, his just reward for playing by the rules and for avoiding the controversy that is increasingly tainting our sports heroes and celebrities. He should be congratulated and emulated.