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Sampras' endorsement potential soars

September, 1990

How much will Pete Sampras' U.S. Open title be worth to the 19- year-old big-hitting Californian?

''A bundle,'' said Jerry Solomon, president of ProServ, the sports firm that represents Sampras.

''He's a phenomenal kid who has made a tremendous impact on the public. He's not the flash-in-the-pan stuff. He has tremendous potential for long term.''

Sampras' $ 350,000 first prize from the Open raised his year's earnings to about $ 1 million. The top pros usually get about three times their earnings in endorsements.

''That 3-1 figure varies, depending on the player,'' said Solomon. ''Michael Chang's worth was greater than 3-1 after he won the (1989) French Open, and Pete Sampras has the potential to be greater than 3-1.''

Sampras spent Monday morning making the how's-it-feel-to-be-champion media rounds.

''We were picked up by a limousine and taken to all three network morning news shows,'' said Ivan Blumberg of ProServ. ''We also taped The Joan Rivers Show, which will be shown (today). CNN picked him up in Atlanta to do their show (Monday). He's talked to People magazine.

''Everything has happened so quickly. He has moved from someone obscure to someone the public has taken a liking to almost overnight.''

Blumberg said Sampras hasn't begun to think about endorsement possibilities.

''We'll be looking for maximum exposure with quality companies,'' Blumberg said. ''Our No. 1 priority must be not to over-expose him or exhaust him physically, so he can continue to function as a player.''

Sampras plays exhibitions in Amelia Island, Fla., this week, then in Dallas and Myrtle Beach, S.C. Afterward, he'll be in Europe playing events in Berlin; Leon, France; Stockholm; Paris; and London.

Blumberg said, ''It has taken him awhile to understand what he's accomplished. (Sunday night) he didn't sleep a minute, not a minute. It didn't really dawn on him what he had done until he realized Bjorn Borg had never won an Open.''

Said Sampras: ''No matter what happens the rest of my life, I'll always be a U.S. Open champion.''


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