Washington Capitals superstar centerman Alex Ovechkin recently sat sown with Andrei Supranovich of Russian Forbes for an extended interview . The interview covered a wide range of topics, from his love for pizza, his need for nutritionists, the Capitals head coaching change, his investment strategies and more. The following is an English translation of the Russian Interview.
“I honestly don’t complain about fate,” How hockey player Alexander Ovechkin manages a $124 million contract.
Living on just one source of income, even if it exceeds $10 million a year, is not generally done by the best athletes in the world. Alexander Ovechkin (No. 3 in the ranking of the highest paid sports and show business stars according to Forbes in 2019) increases his income not only due to advertising contracts. In an interview with Forbes Life, the athlete told how to invest wisely.
In 2005, Alexander Ovechkin, selected in the NHL draft at number one, signed a rookie contract with Washington Capitals. The future star was then offered the highest possible fee – almost $4 million per year. Three years later, Alexander signed a new agreement, a contract for $124 million, which was a record for that time; $9 million in the first six seasons and $10 million in the next seven. Soon after, he met marketing agent David Abrutin, who helped Ovechkin get endorsements that allow him to earn up to $ 5 million a year in advertising. In 2017, Abrutin, a member of the board of directors of Papa John’s pizzeria chain, advised Ovechkin to become a brand ambassador for the chain and then invest in it. And the athlete followed his advice.
Below is a translation of the Forbes interview with Ovechkin:
Question: In the recent ranking of Forbes Show Business and Sports Stars, you took third place, behind Khabib Nurmagomedov and Olga Buzova, whereas last year you were the first. Does this mean anything to you?
Ovechkin: I do not really follow these ratings at all. I learn about them when someone congratulates me. Although how you rate, of course, is important. I have known Khabib and Olga for a long time, I am very happy for them.
Question: You are the most commercially successful Russian hockey player: advertising contracts bring you $4.5 million a year. Who is involved in their detention? How do you decide which brands to work with?
Ovechkin: David Abrutin is my man for such questions. I totally trust him. He comes to me with suggestions, and we jointly make decisions.
Question: You also invest a lot. Do you decide where to invest?
Ovechkin: I have a financial consultant with whom I am constantly in touch. We talk at least once a week. He offers some investment options that are profitable, in his opinion. My lawyers will surely check all the documents, and I will evaluate and decide whether I am ready to invest or not. For me, the timing of receiving dividends is important.
Question: Almost your biggest investment is in Papa John’s pizzeria chain. How did you get this relationship?
Ovechkin: It all started with marketing – I starred in Papa John’s commercials in the USA. So, I got acquainted with the brand. I noticed that it is growing, developing. It’s not a shame, in general, to invest in such a thing. An advertising contract and investment are parallel stories. Transactions do not intersect. I love pizza – we at Washington always eat it, order it in the locker room and at dinner. In September, my brand will be released in Russia – you will find out what I like.
Question: Does a nutritionist forbid you to eat pizza?
Ovechkin: I don’t have one.
Question: You do not have an agent in the usual sense – your parents have long been in business. What difficulties did they face in the USA?
Ovechkin: Some athletes have difficult relationships with their parents, but this is not my case. They are the closest people to me. I completely trust them. In any case, I always make all the final decisions.
Question: In 2008, you became the first player in the NHL with a contract worth more than $100 million. But in recent years, the salary ceiling has grown, as have the income of hockey players. Do you regret that you then signed an agreement for 13 years, and not, for example, for eight?
Ovechkin: I honestly don’t complain about fate and I don’t complain about the contract either. Yes, and I have enough money. I managed to make that contact without an agent, do not forget.
Question: Did this money change you?
Ovechkin: No, no way. I am still the same person as in 2008.
Question: You said that a lot of money imposes an obligation on you to share with those in need. But everyone cannot be helped.
Ovechkin: Everyone – no, but someone can. There are orphanages, foundations with which I work, both in Russia and in America.
Question: You support children’s hockey, donate money to schools, and organize the Alexander Ovechkin Cup tournament.
Ovechkin: This is an important matter. You need to take care things on your end. It is difficult, of course, to do this from the United States, but when possible, I help.
Question: You have only two years left under the contract. Do you think about the future?
Ovechkin: It’s too early to talk about it. Whether I stay in Washington or not, time will tell, I will consider all the options.
Question: Last year, you won the Stanley Cup, and this season is the first with your team in possession. Were there any problems with motivation?
Ovechkin: On the contrary, motivation has only grown. I want to once again experience the emotions of victory, to feel the euphoria of the fans, relatives and friends. Unfortunately, this year it was not possible to repeat the success – there were too many injuries of leading players at the end of the season.
Question: Did the change of coach not affect the result?
Ovechkin: I don’t think so. Todd Reirden has long been an assistant to Barry Trotz. He knows the guys and the system well, and we know him well.
Question: This year there were a lot of unexpected results. Did they surprise you?
Ovechkin: No, not at all. Playoffs are always unpredictable.
Question: You, as the winners of the Cup, went to the White House to meet with Trump, but the basketball and baseball champions refused. Have you had any doubts?
Ovechkin: Personally, I don’t. On the Capitals, everyone decided whether to accept the invitation. I had no problems with this. The reception was gorgeous. Trump was very positive and cheerful. I am pleased that I was able to visit the White House.
Question: The season for you ended with the World Cup [IIHF World Championships]. There was no thought to miss it in order to better recover?
Ovechkin: If I am healthy, why refuse to come to the national team? I have to be physically prepared right up to the Stanley Cup finals, so if we end earlier, why not play at the World Cup? I’m a professional. It is a pity that it did not work out for us to win in the semifinals against the Finns. There was just one goal in the game, but it was not us who scored.
Ovechkin: What did you do after the championship?
Ovechkin: I went on vacation – I’m not a robot, I also need to rest. Now I train twice a day on my own. I’ll start training with the club in late August.
Link to Interview by Forbes Russia: