The magnitude of facial hair’s prevalence in sports has become undeniable, and now the corporate world is looking to cash in on the trend.
The Washington Post reports that men’s grooming tool manufacturer Wahl has announced a four-month deal with Washington Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez to sponsor his beard, which marks the first known time an athlete’s facial hair has been sponsored.
As part of the agreement, Gonzalez will have to reportedly keep his beard well-groomed and conditioned, and any reference to his beard will have to include a mention of his sponsorship (e.g., "brought to you by Wahl").
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Gonzalez didn’t start regularly sporting a beard on the mound until 2014, but he maintains that it gives him an added element as an athlete.
"It’s something about the beard just brings out the animal, the beast inside," the 29-year-old lefty said. "You feel like you’re unstoppable."
It’s safe to say as intimidating as the beard can be, it is no longer feared. In fact, it’s favored—and now even sponsored.