Just when we thought we had a true controversial Jenn Brown story on our hands, it’s cruelly wrested from our fingertips: news broke today that ESPN’s now not sure Brown endorsing Icehouse beer is such a good idea.
Even though the network approved the deal at first, they apparently got cold feet (as cold as a refreshing Icehouse Beer [TM], perhaps?), and now there’s trouble in paradise. But Julian Green, spokesperson for Icehouse’s parent company MillerCoors, said all hope isn’t lost: though he said that “the agreement is not moving forward as planned,” he added that “[u]ntil we hear from Brown or her agent, we believe we still have an approved deal.”
It’s hard to see, though, why ESPN would be holding up proceedings of a deal they apparently used to be fine with unless they were planning to torpedo the agreement. With this in mind, our guess is that they’ll eventually do just that.
Richard Deitsch from Sports Illustrated got a fair amount of credit for undermining the deal, which he disapproved of from the beginning, wrote negatively about again yesterday, and predicted would eventually fall through. But he doesn’t believe he had anything to do with ESPN reconsidering:
Obviously, I stand behind my objections to Jenn Brown serving as an Icehouse endorser but the notion that media voices such as myself and [John Ourand of SportsBusiness Journal] killed this deal is silly. If I had such power, I’d wield it for more important purposes like banning Skip Bayless and Rob Parker from debating sports publicly.
Clearly, though, there was a tipping point in Bristol, and we have to think the objections of media types like Deitsch and Ourand made sense to someone, somewhere in the ESPN hierarchy…maybe even Brown herself. As Deitsch said, she’ll likely have plenty of opportunities to endorse products in the coming months and years: why not wait for something that won’t bring any negative attention?
Eventually, Brown will get her endorsement deal, both she and ESPN will get less negative publicity, and whichever company eventually signs her will get a bigger name, thanks in part to this controversy. The only loser, really, is Icehouse beer. It’s got to be enough to make their executives want, um, an Icehouse beer.