The USA's loss to Japan from the penalty spot could have cost the U.S. players as much as $10 million in missed endorsements. Stars such as Abby Wambach and Hope Solo, who finished 2-3 in Golden Ball balloting, were seeking $3 million to $4 million in endorsement deals and the other players could have gained $2 million. The good news is the players received far greater publicity than they could have ever imagined before the tournament started, and the London Olympics is around the corner.
"Yeah, the defeat cost the U.S. women some heavy endorsement dollars, but I don't think it's a total loss," said Bob Dorfman, VP-executive creative director at San Francisco-based Baker Street Partners and an expert in sports marketing. "The final was an epic match, it likely drew a huge audience, and it made household names of Wambach, Solo and [Alex] Morgan."
Two Concacaf teams will qualify for London 2012. Vancouver has been awarded the qualifying tournament, which will take place Jan. 19-29.
"If a stunning loss can still be a win, this was it," added Dorfman. "With the 2012 Olympics just around the corner, women's soccer will stay relevant, and the U.S. team's quest for gold will take on added drama and relevance. Expect Wambach, Solo and Morgan to be highlighted heavily by Olympic sponsors and other advertisers leading up to the Games."