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Published 12 July 2013 15:08, Updated 18 July 2013 00:45
Ashton Agar’s performance augurs well for the wealth of his entire team. Photo: Getty Images
The jaw-dropping Test debut of Australian cricketer Ashton Agar will treble his annual salary and almost guarantee endorsement deals, given his manager has recently turned a Tour de France victory into more than $5 million for another client.
The 19-year-old spin bowler (and we should now add, batsman) is managed by Jason Bakker, who also handles cyclist Cadel Evans.
Evans’s 2011 Tour de France win will have provided Bakker with a template for capitalising on Agar’s 98-run innings overnight, according to Chris Styring, the general manager of sports and entertainment at research consultancy, Sweeney Research.
“I know Jason, and he’ll be making calls while [Agar] is top of people’s minds, but the secret is making sure you get the right partners who’ll stay,” Styring says.
“He won’t be just wanting to sign anyone in a cash grab. Customers have become cynical about the personalities that get attached to brands, and corporates have become a lot more careful as a result.”
Bakker helped propel Evans to seventh place on the 2012 BRW Top 50 Sports Earners, making $4.5 million from post-Tour endorsements including Ernst & Young, Swisse Vitamins, Paradice Investment Management and engineering and environmental technology multinational Siemens.
It’s too early to put a number on Agar’s earnings potential, Styring says, but the right ingredients are there.
“He’s nice, he’s humble, got a lovely family. From the sound of the interviews this morning he speaks well, and he’s a good-looking kid which always helps,” Styring observes. Bakker has already told The Australian Financial Review that his client is likely to receive a “central player contract” from Cricket Australia worth $300,000 a year, up from the $100,000 annual contract he signed recently with Western Australia’s Sheffield Shield team.
Agar’s heroic batting effort alone will generate some endorsements, Styring predicts, but Evans-like earnings could lie in wait provided he continues to perform “reasonably well”, and there are no behavioural “disasters”.
Such problems with player conduct have plagued Australia’s national cricket team in recent months. Four players were kicked off an Indian tour for insubordination, and batsman David Warner is in trouble for assaulting English counterpart Joe Root in a bar.
“Agar is the kid to turn that around,” Styring says.
“He’s turned people’s heads and can help undo some of the mistakes the more high-profile cricketers have made.”
Cricket, like swimming, has suffered bad press that has “certainly hurt the continued earning potential of some of the players,” Styring says.
Salvaging a first-innings lead may not be all that Ashton Agar’s teammates have to thank him for.