Understanding the Current Tennis Sports Sponsorship Landscape

With over one billion fans globally, tennis has the muscle to attract sponsors. From Nike to Mercedes, some of the top global brands pump money into the game for branding leverage. The brands hitch their wagon to top stars, putting their logos on players’ rackets, balls, shirts, shorts, shoes, sweatbands, skirts, equipment, and paraphernalia. Sponsors endorsing events and helping athletes acquire courts for play and practice are also commonplace.

Top sponsors:

Per Scoreandchange.com, Nike and Adidas, the two most recognizable sports brands have the strongest representation in tennis. Together, Nike (43%) and Adidas (14%) endorse apparels of 57% of 30 top-ranked female tennis players. For the top 30 men, the figure is 40% with Nike 23% and Adidas 17%. Likewise, Wilson (34%) is the biggest racket sponsor for 30 top-seeded female athletes, followed by BABOLAT (23%), Yonex (23%), Head (17%), and Dunlop (03%). The major racket sponsors for men include Wilson (40%), BABOLAT (20%), Head (17%), and YONEX (10%).

Some other interesting trends largely define the tennis sponsorships landscape.

  • 11 different brands endorse the top 20 men’s apparels and footwear.
  • Only 5 of the top 20 female players aren’t sponsored by Nike and Fila.
  • Wilson is the leading racket sponsor, endorsing 8 of the top 20 male and female players
  • Head is placed second, sponsoring 3 and 5 of the top 20 female and male respectively
  • What follows are BABOLAT (04 female and 04 male) and Yonex (04 female and 02 male)

Apparel Sponsorship (Females)

Brand Representation %
Nike 43%
Adidas 14%
Fila 14%
Lotto 07%
Yonex 07%
Asics 03%
Lacoste 03%

 

Racket sponsorship (Females):

Brand Representation %
Wilson 34%
BABOLAT 23%
Yonex 23%
Head 17%
Dunlop 03%

 

Apparel Sponsorship (Males)

Brand Representation %
Nike 23%
Adidas 17%
Asics 14%
Lacoste 14%
Fila 10%
UNIQLO 07%
Lotto 03%
EA7 03%

 

Racket sponsors (Males)

Brand Representation %
Wilson 40%
BABOLAT 20%
Head 17%
Yonex 10%
Prince 07%
TECNIFIBRE 03%
Blacked Out 03%

 

Top players:

The tennis sponsorships are typically hinged on players’ performance and rankings. However, the players’ country, social media followings and other factors also factor into the quantum of the endorsements they earn. The sponsorship contracts feature minimum guarantees, ensuring bonus for the contracted players for their performances and ranking upsurge. Reductions are applicable when rankings and performance dip. That said, the crème de la crème, including Federer, Nadal and Serena Williams attract higher guarantees and aren’t prone to reductions.

 

Endorsement Worth of TOP PLAYERS (2019):

 

The top-seeded players earn big on the court and make a lucrative living off it too, thanks to some lucrative endorsement deals coming their way. Here’s your rundown on the top 12 icons (males and females) with the highest endorsement income in 2019. (Courtesy, STATISTA). Note that, athletes switching sponsors are commonplace. So any variance in data can’t be ruled out.

 

Player Apparels Footwear Racket Endorsements
Roger Federer UNIQLO On Wilson 86 Million USD
Kei Nishikori UNIQLO Nike Wilson 33 Million USD
Novak Djokovic Lacoste Asics Head 30 Million USD
Rafael Nadal Nike Nike BABOLAT 26 Million USD
Serena Williams Nike Nike Wilson 25 Million USD
Naomi Osaka Nike Nike Yonex 14 Million USD
Stan Wawrinka Yonex Yonex Yonex 07 Million USD
Sloane Stephens Nike Nike Head 5.5 Million USD
Caroline Wozniacki Adidas Adidas Head 05 Million USD
Juan Martín del Potro Nike Nike Wilson 05 Million USD
Simona Halep Nike Nike Wilson 04 Million USD
Ashleigh Barty Fila Fila Head 3.5 Million USD

 

The tennis sponsorships are a multi-million-dollar affair but do the results live up to sponsors’ objectives? The answer is precise, yes! A growing body of research suggests that the audiences associate with athletes at a subconscious level. Whether they win or lose, their loyalty stays intact with the players and brands they endorse. Simply put, fans stay committed to the player and the associated brands until something drastic happens, say a scandal, injury or retirement.

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