Deion Sanders, a two-time Super Bowl champion who played 14 seasons in the NFL and nine seasons in Major League Baseball, has a bright new career: in the sunglasses industry.
Sanders, who is now the head football coach at the University of Colorado Boulder, recently collaborated with Blenders Eyewear. In an homage to his nicknames of Prime Time and Coach Prime, PRIME 21 sunglasses amassed $1.2 million in presales—in 24 hours. Within three days, sales had rocketed to nearly $5 million, showcasing the immense influence and star power that Sanders brings to the table.
College football fans have already seen how Sanders has revived Colorado’s football program, with season tickets selling out for the first time since 1996. His persona on and off the field has lent itself to the booming sunglasses sales. Known for wearing sunglasses during interviews and press conferences (from as early as the 1989 NFL Draft), Sanders is the perfect spokesperson for a sunglasses company.
At CU’s season opener in September, Sanders wore distinctive gold sunglasses, a fashion choice that propelled Blenders into the spotlight as fans took to Google to find out where they could get a pair of their own. According to founder and CEO Chase Fisher in an interview with USA Today Sports, “Normally, we do a lot of marketing through paid social [media], but with his presence and the amount of news and eyeballs we’re getting, and the amount of media around him, it’s kind of just like working on its own.”
Sanders gave his CU players PRIME 21 glasses, increasing hype around a product that won’t ship until December, according to the website’s current estimate. This partnership exemplifies how celebrities, brands, and even athletic programs can work synergistically to drive sales. Expect more of these natural tie-ins in the future.