Pistorius' sponsors in turmoil

2013-02-15 19:53
Oscar ad (YouTube)

Oscar ad banned

2013-02-15 14:09

Watch the 'bullet in the chamber' Nike ad featuring Oscar Pistorius.

Paris - The murder charge brought against Oscar Pistorius, whose fairytale story attracted multi-million dollar investment from various worldwide brands, has plunged his army of sponsors into turmoil.

From sports equipment giant Nike to British Telecom (BT), who made him the face of their publicity campaign for the London Paralympics last year, through to Ossur, the Icelandic-based manufacturaters of his prosthetic limbs, the response to the shocking news appears to be "wait and see".

"Given the ongoing legal proceedings, it would be inappropriate for us to give any further comment at present. Our thoughts are with all those affected," a BT spokesperson told AFP, adding that the six-time Paralympic champion would remain a brand ambassador for the time being.

VIDEO: Banned Oscar Ad

"At this moment, it's a matter that's being investigated. We're not speaking about the sponsorship," said Nike South Africa spokeswoman Seruscka Naidoo, who said there was an "issue at hand here which is much bigger than a sponsorship".

Pistorius' website had featured a Nike advert with a photo of the South African accompanied by the slogan "I am the bullet in the chamber" before its removal in the wake of Thursday's shooting.

"It's Oscar's website, it's not a Nike-owned website," clarified the American manufacturer.

Meanwhile, M-Net Movies, a subscription-funded TV channel in South Africa, elected to pull its "Every night is Oscar night" campaign "out of respect and sympathy to the bereaved", it said in a tweet.

Born without the fibula bone in either leg, Pistorius, 26, became the first double amputee to challenge able-bodies athletes at the Olympic Games, transcending the little covered world of handicapped sport to become a global icon.

He also filmed an advertisement for the "A*Men" perfume by Thierry Mugler -- who didn't wish to comment further on the matter -- with sunglass manufacturer Oakley another of his backers.

The accumulative total of his earnings from sponsors, which accounts for much of his income, was reportedly $4.7 million (3.5 million euros), according to the Financial Times.

The next step for sponsors is unclear.

However, they haven't been afraid to sever ties with sports stars in less tragic circumstances.

At the end of last year, Nike ended a 16-year partnership with disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong following the publication of the US Anti-Doping Agency report that led to the voiding of his seven Tour de France titles.

Oakley, the makers of Trek bikes, Anheuser-Busch brewery, the FRS energy drink company, sports nutrition firm (Honey Stinger) and the producers of Giro cycling helmets also quickly ceased their dealings with the American.

Golfer Tiger Woods also lost several sponsors, such as consulting firm Accenture, AT&T, Gatorade and Gillette after revelations about his infidelity in 2009.

Read more on:    oscar pistorius  |  athletics

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Live scoring

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Caster Semenya has been nominated for the 2018 Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year award. Which of the nominees deserves the award most?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.