What Impact Has Sponsorship had on Tennis?
Tennis really is at its peak at the moment, and the ‘fabulous four’ have played a key part in boosting the sport’s popularity. Top athletes Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray have dominated the game for the past six years, taking tennis into a whole new territory.
The players have become marketable superstars and similarly to other sports like golf, the sport has become a very lucrative one.
How much money can you win?
• In 2013 the Australian Open is offering a record prize money of AUD$30 million (£2 million).
• US Open prize money in 2013 for singles will be $5.9 million (£3.8 million).
• £1.1 million was given to the singles winner at Wimbledon last year.
• The 2012 French Open awarded the singles winner €1,250,000 (£1,081,148).
So as you can see, there is some big money to be made. And businesses know this, which is why sponsorship in the game has grown so much over the past 40 years.
Let’s look at the top players and their sponsorship deals, to learn more:
• Roger Federer
Roger Federer is the world’ s highest-paid tennis player. In 2012, he earned £6.1 million on court and £29.6 million off court, taking his total earnings to £35.7 million.
He has sponsorship deals with Nike, Rolex, Gillette, Mercedes-Benz and Credit Suisse. His £42 million career prize money and 16 grand slams, both smash existing records.
• Andy Murray
According to Forbes, Murray earned £7.9 million last year for both on and off the court. He has lucrative sponsorship deals with Adidas, Royal Bank of Scotland and Jaguar; and his five-year contract with Adidas is said to be worth £3.2 million alone.
His career prize money has now reached £14.3 million, making him the fifth highest-paid tennis player in the world.
• Maria Sharapova
At just 24-years old, Maria Sharapova is the world’s third highest-paid tennis player in the world, and the highest paid female tennis player.
She has five other Tour pros wearing her collection, and her Nike line of tennis apparel rose 26% last year, raking in £46 million including royalties, over the past eight years. In total she earned £17.8 million in 2012, of which £14.5 million was through off court endorsements.
Tennis stars have transformed from athletes into players with a celebrity status. It has become much more ‘glamourised’ but this is attracting newer, younger audiences to the game.
Sponsorships can put added pressure onto players to behave a certain way and there is the added stress to win big games, however overall, sponsorship can be perceived in a positive way. It is taking the game from strength to strength; surely a boost in popularity is a good thing?
What do you think; do you feel that the likes of Nike and Adidas are changing the game in a bad way? We’d love to know your thoughts!
This article was written by Lauren Grice on behalf of Wimbledon Debenture Holders, the leading website for competitive, corporate Wimbledon tickets. Visit the site today or speak to the experts for centre court tickets from just £570.