Pistorius has a net worth off $5 million and is on bail, accused of shooting of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. Whatever happens during the trial, it is clear that the life of endorsements and advertising campaigns is over.
He is estimated to have received endorsements worth more than $2 million a year. Amongst them was sportswear giant Nike, British Telecommunications, Thierry Mugler fragrance, Oakley sunglass, and Ossur, an Icelandic firm that makes the prosthetic carbon fiber blades, which he wears during his races.
Johannesburg-based marketing and communications strategist Clive Simpkins believes it won’t all be gloom and doom for the 26-year-old athlete, as it’s believed he is a director of several companies among many, owned by the Pistorius family.
“His sponsorship revenues, although evidently worth a hefty sum of money, were not his sole means of support. Even without them, he’s unlikely to suffer financial deprivation. Regardless of the outcome, he’s now pretty much ‘un-sponsorable’, says Simpkins.
He added that no company could afford to associate themselves with Pistorius, out of fear of their brands being eclipsed by the controversial personality connected with it. As the Blade Runner prepares to prove his innocence, the sponsors have moved away. Nike confirmed to FORBES AFRICA that it has suspended its contract with the athlete, but would not say how much it was worth.
“We believe Oscar Pistorius should be afforded due process and we will continue to monitor the situation closely,” says Seruscka Naidoo, communications manager for Nike South Africa.
The sports apparel giant removed an advert of Pistorius, which showed him setting off from starting blocks alongside the tagline “I am the bullet in the chamber”.
Top sunglass brand Oakley also severed ties with the athlete but again refused to disclose the terms of the contract.
“In light of the recent allegations, Oakley is suspending its contract with Oscar Pistorius, effective immediately. Our hearts are with the families during this difficult time and we’ll continue to follow the developments in this tragic case,” says Cheri Quigley, spokeswoman for Oakley in the States.
Thierry Mugler—Pistorius was the face of its A*Men fragrance in 2011—also withdrew all its campaigns featuring the athlete.
M-Net Movies, a South African pay TV channel, pulled its TV advert campaign and billboards featuring the athlete to promote Hollywood movies, with the run up to the Academy Awards. The advert’s tagline was: “Every night is Oscar night”.
Pistorius was also dropped from the South African leg of the “It Gets Better” global video campaign, where high-profile figures give support to gay teenagers. He was shown in the video saying, “Just remember that you’re special. You don’t have to worry. You don’t have to change. Take a deep breath and remember it will get better”.
Assets that the athlete owns include three houses and a vacant plot worth a total of around R8.3 million ($903,300). The house where the shooting took place in a gated security village outside the capital city of Pretoria is worth around R5.6 million ($609,500). The luxury home has been on the market since September 2011. The vacant plot he owns is located in the Western Cape, near Cape Town is worth around $190,000.
In his affidavit Pistorius says that he has an annual income of around R5.6 million and movable assets including household furniture, cars, jewelry worth around $56,000. He also has “cash investments” of around R1 million ($108,800) with various banks in the country.
The athlete is currently on strict bail conditions and was ordered to pay bail of R1 million. In March his lawyers tried to get his bail’s conditions relaxed to no avail. The 26-year-old was ordered to hand over his guns and passport and was forbidden to return to his upscale home, where the shooting took place. He may undergo random, mandatory alcohol and drug tests and also has to report to a police station twice week or be visited by a probation officer. Pistorius will also have to be in regular contact with his probation officials, who will report on his state of mind. He was warned against contacting any potential witnesses in the case against him.
Pistorius was charged with premeditated murder and will appear in court on June 4.
The story caught the eye of rogue trader, Nick Leeson. The man, who at the time aged 25, broke Barings Bank, the Queens bank in Britain. Leeson lost £862 million ($1.3 billion) through unauthorized trading and spent more than four years in a jail in Singapore.
He believes that the truth will come out even though it could take a while.
“The big thing for me is about accountability. You have to accept you did something wrong. And sometimes that’s the most difficult journey. You need to get that degree of accountability, otherwise it’s impossible to move forward. So whatever happened, he has to come to terms with it,” says Leeson.
Sage advice from a former young man to a troubled young man.