Erectile dysfunction can affect anyone, and so it stands to reason that many sporting personalities are prescribed PDE5 inhibitor tablets for their most commonly cited purpose.
However, sports and sildenafil tablets have been connected in some very interesting ways.
Some of these trace themselves back to the earliest prescriptions of the ED medication and range from some of the most unique and effective spokespeople, racing cars and a legal but unique trick to help play football at high altitude.
Why The Greatest Football Player Ever Became Sildenafil’s Greatest Supporter
Edson Arantes do Nascimento is quite possibly the greatest and most famous football player in the history of the game.
Pelé’s list of accomplishments as a player is nearly endless, from the three World Cups he has won, to scoring the most goals in a career, to being a major reason for the popularity of football in the world, but especially in the United States when he played for the North American Soccer League.
However, there are many people, including Pele himself, who also see his work as a brand ambassador for Pfizer when Viagra was initially approved as a major achievement.
Pfizer’s initial marketing was relatively understated and focused on opening a dialogue about ED. Bob Dole is the most prominent example of this in the United States but Pelé’s international popularity gave the drug international attention.
Initially, he was rather surprised to have been approached and was warned to be careful, but his popularity and authority in the world of sport helped bring more attention to an issue that people at the time were not as willing to talk about.
The Viagra Car
In 2002, as part of a major promotional push for Viagra, Pfizer spent millions sponsoring a NASCAR team in what was described at the time as the biggest sponsorship deal in the stock car racing company’s history.
Alongside a prominent blue sponsorship emblazoning the Roush racing team’s cars and drivers, in particular the number 6 of Mark Martin, Pfizer also had a pop-up men’s health clinic appear at every race, and this element was emphasised as much as the ED angle.
Ultimately, whilst initially causing concern due to the amount of money spent, it would start to pay dividends as the rate of men dying from prostate cancer started to decline in the years since that deal.
Viagra On The Pitch
Ultimately, Viagra’s active ingredient sildenafil works because of its ability to increase blood flow and this has several benefits on the football pitch beside the overall health of the players.
Sildenafil, much like other PDE5 inhibitors, works by improving the circulation of blood, which is believed to also help people manage the effects of altitude sickness.
It is most commonly used when playing games at high altitudes, such as in Bolivia’s capital city La Paz or in South Africa, as it can be harder for players not used to the thinner air to play as effectively.
This was notably the case when Argentina played Bolivia in a 2017 World Cup qualification match, where ‘La Albiceleste’ were given a mix of sildenafil, paracetamol and caffeine to help handle the altitude.