ATLANTA (AP) — Delta Air Lines says it’s bringing former star quarterback Tom Brady on board as a “long-term strategic adviser.” Brady is a seven-time Super Bowl winner for the New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. “Bringing a leader like Tom onto the Delta team furthers our mission to connect the world while accelerating our drive to continuously improve for our colleagues, customers and communities,” Delta CEO Ed Bastian said in a news release announcing the partnership.Delta declined to disclose how much it is paying Brady or describe other terms of the deal.Delta said Brady will play a role in marketing and help the Atlanta-based airline develop training and teamwork tools for its more than 90,000 employees. He will also appear on a series of Bastian’s “Gaining Altitude” video interviews to discuss topics including overcoming adversity.
Brady said he and NFL teammates flew on Delta many times, “even celebrating Super Bowl wins on the plane,” and has “loved and respected” the airline for years. “Growing up with a mother as a flight attendant, I have always admired the people that make seamless air transportation possible,” he said in a statement issued by the airline. Brady retired after the 2022 NFL season, and he spoke recently to The Associated Press recently about his various new projects. The five-time Super Bowl MVP, who turned 46 last month, signed a 10-year deal with Fox Sports to be its lead NFL analyst on game broadcasts, he is a minority owner of the WNBA Las Vegas Aces, has apparel and wellness brands, and has appeared in TV ads for Hertz rental cars and even a feature film — “80 for Brady,” about four elderly women who travel to see him play in the Super Bowl.
Brady also endorsed cryptocurrency exchange FTX, which collapsed last year. He is among celebrities being sued over the endorsements. According to a bankruptcy filing by FTX, Brady owned more than 1.1 million shares as of January.The seven-time Super Bowl champion is expanding his post-NFL career business ventures, joining Delta to work on internal employee training and appear in external advertising campaigns. Delta said Wednesday that Brady would become a “strategic adviser” to the airline. Brady will partner with Delta to develop and advise on “teamwork tools” for the airline’s more than 90,000 employees and take part in select marketing campaigns, the company said. In his first year, Brady will work with Delta’s employees for “onboarding, cultural familiarity and immersion” into the company and appear on Delta CEO Ed Bastian’s video series with business leaders, philanthropists and others. Although the details of the partnership were not specific, it appears that Delta wants to use Brady as more than a celebrity spokesperson for the brand in advertisements, said Allen Adamson, a marketing expert and co-founder of consulting firm Metaforce.“Getting a celebrity in a spot is less credible with younger consumers,” he said.
“Delta is trying to look at how to leverage the association internally.” Brady could appear in employee training exercises to talk about teamwork and managing adversity, Adamson said. These kind of celebrity employment deals have a long history – and a lousy track record. BlackBerry hired Alicia Keys (get it? keys…) as “creative director” in 2013, and she promptly tweeted about it – on an iPhone. (She said she was hacked). The collaboration ended just a year later. Intel hired will.i.am and Polaroid hired Lady Gaga as creative directors around the same time. Both left after a couple years. In 2019, Adidas signed Beyoncé Knowles as a creative partner.
That partnership ended this year. Brady has become more involved in business ventures in recent years. Brady founded health and wellness company TB12 Sports and also owns a media company and the Brady Brand clothing line. He also is a minority owner of the British soccer team Birmingham City, a Major League Pickleball team, and a team in E1 Series, the first electric boat racing championship. Brady is expected to step into a role as a sports broadcaster, after signing a deal in 2022 with Fox Sports that was reportedly worth $375 million over 10 years.