Prague - Does money bring success or does success bring money? Olympic success will certainly bring athletes plentiful opportunities once they are back home. The "price" of a successful athlete increase with the medals collected in the Games.
Women's javelin gold-winner Barbora Špotáková is likely to enjoy success and fame, but also higher profits from advertisement.
Špotáková has experience with "starring" in ads, albeit non-commercial. She appeared in a campaign organized by the Prague municipality which was to support Prague's 2016 Summer Olympic bid.
"It's great to work with her, she is very photogenic," says Eda Kauba, director of Euro RSCG agency who participated in the production of the advertisements.
Šebrle paid in millions
The most famous athletes such as decathlete Roman Šebrle may be paid in millions of Czech crowns, although advertising experts claim it is hard to stipulate the "price" of an Olympic gold winner.
"The reimbursement for appearing in an ad is worth hundreds of thousands of crowns, though there are also contracts with even higher offers," claims Marek Tesař from Mather Activation Agency.
An athlete's name is not enough to secure a lucrative deal. It is also her or his communication skills, management skills of the agent, or whether the contractor is a local or international company.
The "story" of the athlete also matters. "The athlete needs to be able to offer a story or a program of how to approach the target group. Surprisingly, the attractiveness of the sport discipline is not so crucial," Tesař explains.
The love story of a hot-shooting U.S.-Czech couple Kateřina and Matt Emmons might be precisely this kind of "attention grabbing story".
Tesař suggests, though, their success in the Czech Republic will depend on their "visibility" in the country. At the moment, it appears that they have a better chance of becoming "stars" in the USA.
"Kateřina is the primary interest for Czech companies, because she is Czech. The story of the couple is attractive rather from the global perspective. If there is an opportunity, we will surely use it," says David Trávníček from the Sport Invest company that represents the Czech shooter.
"If a large producer of contact lenses would use her name to claim that with their lenses customers will hit their target precisely as Kateřina, I can imagine a very favorable contract for Kateřina," says Kauba.
Other Czech medal winners from Beijing may obtain offers to star in advertisements, too. For example, shooter David Kostelecký has signed a contract with the E.ON energy company prior to the Olympics. Though, no advertisement campaign is being prepared at the moment.
The sums spent by Czech firms on recruiting athletes for advertisement are significantly lower than sums spent by giants such as Adidas or Nike.
The only case of a massive advertisement campaign on Czech soil comparable to those in the West was commissioned by Česká spořitelna which used the face of Czech football goalie Petr Čech.