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.
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)
Racket sponsorship (Females):
Apparel Sponsorship (Males)
Racket sponsors (Males)
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.
|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.