Sports management expert Christian Lang on Schwingerkönig
«Joel Wicki can earn a lot of money»
Joel Wicki is the smallest of all the big bad guys. But his purse could soon burst, because the king of wrestling now has lucrative sponsorship deals in store.
Schwingerkönig Joel Wicki cheers after the victory in the final round.
Joel Wicki (25) is the king of hearts – and soon also of sponsors! The number of partners listed on his website is still manageable. “If Wicki can now use the momentum, then he can earn a lot of money,” says Christian Lang (30), head of sports management at the University of St. Gallen. Because no other athlete in Switzerland is currently as in demand as Wicki.
That means: The wrestling king, who is only 1.83 meters tall, could become the third top wrestler after Kilian Wenger (32) and Matthias Sempach (36) to achieve an annual income of one million francs or more.
Is there now a risk that Wicki will focus too much on earning money, perhaps even neglecting sport? “No, I’m not worried about that,” says Lang. «Wicki is very down-to-earth and doesn’t let success blind him. The money allows him to focus even more on the sport.”
Two things are important for long-term marketing success: loyalty and a good manager. “With Michael Schiendorfer (54), the wrestling king has an experienced manager at his side who has certainly thought about how he can market his protégé even better,” says Lang. Schiendorfer is familiar with top athletes. With wrestlers Wicki and Pirmin Reichmuth (27), he also has skier Marco Odermatt (24) and decathlete Simon Ehammer (22) under contract.
Wicki has already proven his loyalty. Wicki has been working with his main sponsor – a furniture store from the canton of Bern whose owner lives in Entlebuch – for over a decade. “It’s about not selling yourself to the highest bidder, but striving for partnership-based sponsorship that also suits the athlete,” explains Lang.
Central Swiss champions
Wicki is now a national champion, but the enthusiasm for him knows no bounds, especially in Central Switzerland. Because the “David” Wicki finally gave the Central Swiss team a king’s title again after 36 years by beating the Bernese “Goliath” Matthias Aeschbacher (30).
Even if there are no large corporations in the region, there is a whole range of medium-sized champions from the industry who would probably like to adorn themselves with the national icon Wicki.