Even with 'Deflategate,' the Brady brand may hold up to pressure

Fri May 8, 2015 7:44pm EDT
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By Steve Ginsburg

(Reuters) - At perhaps the most difficult time in his storybook football career, Tom Brady's brand value might sag a bit with the "Deflategate" scandal but probably won't collapse, experts say.

The New England Patriots quarterback is one of the biggest names in sports today, a four-time Super Bowl champion and three-time Super Bowl Most Valuable Player who until now has kept his nose clean over 15 years in the National Football League.

And if that's not enough, he and his wife, Brazilian super model Gisele Bundchen, might be one of the most in-demand couples around.

But Brady faces a possible NFL suspension after a report released on Wednesday by the league linked him to the deliberate under-inflation of game balls for January's AFC title game against the Indianapolis Colts. Under-inflating a football can help a quarterback improve his grip and control over the ball.

Brady maintains he knew nothing about the incident.

So far, none of Brady's sponsors, like Under Armour, Movado or Glaceau SmartWater, have made any signs of pulling their support.

Brady might lose some "sensitive" sponsors over time, Michael Cramer, director of the Texas Program in Sports and Media at the University of Texas, but seems to have "staying power" with them.

Bündchen's role in buttressing Brady cannot be underestimated, he said, as she maintains a certain cache with advertisers.   Continued...

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady speaks at Salem State University in Salem, Massachusetts, May 7, 2015.  REUTERS/Charles Krupa