Beats by Dre and Subway sign-up Daniel Sturridge

Beats by Dre and Subway are embarking on lucrative commercial deals with England and Liverpool FC striker Daniel Strurridge, who sponsorship experts predict will become increasingly attractive to sponsors if he enjoys a “strong” World Cup.

Video: Subway “My Sub My Way” TV ad

The premium headphone maker is understood to have signed the striker to appear alongside World Cup poster boy Neymar in its global TV campaign.

Players are banned from wearing the headphones in and around World Cup venues to protect Sony’s exclusive rights. However, the brand, which famously ambushed London 2012, is not deterred in sweating its football assets this summer to link to the tournament.

Beats sees the event as a key pillar in its pan-European expansion charge and the Sturridge deal is seen as an important stage in that.  

Subway is hoping for a similar outcome after signing the player to bring credibility to its active lifestyle positioning. He will appear in McCann London-created ads for its Low Fat Sub range in the coming days alongside football legend Pele. The sandwich maker used a tool developed by sponsorship agency MediaCom Sport to value the tangible benefits of backing Sturridge alongside Liverpool, who were unveiled as partners last month.

The restaurant took the unusual step of using an algorithm to calculate the value of sponsoring Sturridge in a bid to create a more accurate return on investment figure. It is a change to the way the company develops its sponsorships, valuing the tangible sponsorship benefits of the player’s personal brand rather than just the media exposure. Subway is banking on the gleaned insights to give its healthy eating campaign cut-through against the heavy media spending of rival and World Cup sponsor McDonald’s.

Sturridge is the latest in a long line of young English footballers to be tipped as the next global sports star. But where the likes of Michael Owen struggled to court the types of commercial partners capable of heightening their personal brands, Sturridge is carefully pitching himself as a player holding all the ingredients necessary for commercial success.

The footballer, in partnership with sports marketing consultancy Octagon, has predicated his reputation for “hard work”, which has helped him shirk the criticisms that dogged his early career and become one the Premier League’s most potent goalscorers, making him a compelling proposition for sponsors. Sturridge already has deals with BT Sport, Coca-Cola and Mars.

Sponsorship experts say the deals have lifted his awareness among non-football fans over the past season, adding a “strong” performance at next month’s World Cup could cement his cross over appeal.

The prediction is backed by the latest data from Repucom’s Celebrity DBI Index, which suggests Sturridge is on the cusp adding tangible value to the brands that associate with him. Sturridge’s Endorsement score – a measure of the degree to which people identify the star as being an effective brand spokesperson – is 63.21 points, putting him behind Ferrari F1 driver Fernando Alonso’s 63.7 but ahead of England teammate Wayne Rooney’s 60.22. The trials and tribulations Sturrdige endured before his successful switch to Liverpool in 2012 has lifted his aspiration score (70.98) ahead of both Alonso’s 69.78 and Rooney’s 64.3, while the player’s trend-setter score also outmatches both sports stars.

Charlie Dundas, managing director of Repucom UK and Ireland, says: “Brands are looking at Sturridge as someone they can build up as the poster boy for the England team going into the next European Championships and 2018 World Cup. He doesn’t look like just another white English football player off the usual conveyor belt and has gained the halo-effect of playing alongside someone like Luis Suarez this season.

“The danger is English football has a history of building our heroes up very quickly and then knocking them down when they don’t perform. This could happen if Sturridge misses an easy chance in Rio next month and the challenge for him and his team is how they grow his appeal with non-football fans and try to emulate the model successfully used by David Beckham.”