Ryan Lochte: Next Reality Star?
First there was the diamond, American-flag grill Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte tried to wear on the podium while collecting a gold medal. Then came his admission that he pees in the pool and his mother's suggestion that the busy 28-year-old only has time for one-night stands. Despite the sometimes-negative publicity -- the blog Jezebel dubbed him "America's sexiest douchebag" -- sports-business experts say Lochte's antics shouldn't hurt his ability to cash in on his five London medals. If anything, they might help. "I don't think Ryan was a buttoned-up guy to begin with," says Evan Morgenstein, CEO of PMG Sports, which represents U.S. swimmer Tyler Clary. "A tight-ass Madison Avenue ad agency who has a client that is risk-averse -- they weren't going to work with him anyway." Lochte has nine big deals with the likes of Speedo, Gatorade, Ralph Lauren and Gillette, and Fortune has estimated his 2012 endorsement earnings at $2.3 million. His sports agent, Erika Wright, says the swimmer has received offers to create a fashion line and has been asked by Will Ferrell to make a FunnyOrDie video, and TV offers are on the table. "I cannot tell you the exact shows, but two different reality show concepts have been offered and one additional is being discussed," she writes in an e-mail. (Wright adds that Lochte has "little room for adding more" sponsors.) Jesse Ryback of consultancy Premier Partnerships notes as long as Lochte doesn't run afoul of the law or get into more serious controversies, the swimmer should be OK. "He has this Kanye West-like persona in terms of attention," says Ryback. "That makes him even more memorable."