By Barry Janoff
July 31, 2013: QSR giant Subway today added another giant star to its roster of Famous Fans, signing international soccer icon Pelé to a multi-year deal.
Pelé, who was on hand in New York to unveil the news with Subway executives and media, will appear in marketing and make personal appearances for the chain. Financial details were not released.
Pelé joins the likes of Michael Phelps, Nastia Liukin, Robert Griffin III, Mike Trout, Carl Edwards, Ryan Howard, Apolo Ohno and Eric LeGrand as company spokespersons.
His favorite Subway sandwich? Tuna on Italian bread with lettuce salt and pepper.
"Throughout my entire career, I always made sure to take care of my body with proper nutrition, training and rest," said Pelé during the media conference at Chelsea Piers in Manhattan, where he oversaw a kids' soccer clinic. "With Subway Restaurants' approach to fresh, better-for-you options, I look forward to working alongside other Famous Fans to encourage families around the world to eat well and lead active lives."
Pelé's work for Subway will not be limited to the U.S. The brand said it has more than 39,000 locations in 101 countries.
Pelé is having a busy week in New York. On Thursday, he will be at the Empire State Building to “flip the switch” and light the world-famous building's lights green, which will commemorate the return of the New York Cosmos to competitive play after 30 years.
He is also working on a film based on his life, Pelé ("A boy with nothing, who changed everything.") from Imagine Entertainment and Seine Pictures.
Pelé played for the Cosmos in the 1970s during the club's hey-days in the North American Soccer League and is now the team's honorary president. The original NASL folded in the 1980s but was reborn in 2009 as a second division entity.
Pelé and other former members of the Cosmos have been part of the club's revival marketing campaign, "Don't call it a comeback. Call it a reboot." The Cosmos' home opener is scheduled for Aug. 3 at Hofstra University on Long Island, with Pelé expected to be in attendance.
Pelé was a member of the Brazilian National Team from 1957-71 and won three World Cups, and a member of Santos from 1956-74. In 1999, he was named the "Athlete of the Century" by the International Olympic Committee.
Since retiring from active play in 1977, Pelé has been a global ambassador for the sport as well as for humanitarian and environmental causes.
"Futbol is the global sport and Pelé is the pre-eminent player of all time," said Tony Pace, Subway's global CMO. "It's great to have him as part of the Subway brand around the world."
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