Tennis is considered one of the most civilized sports in the world, but it’s also a very lucrative one. For example, the prize money for winning the singles at:
– US Open is £1.2 million ($1,813,320)
– Australian Open – £1.7 million ($2,568,870)
– Wimbledon – £1.2 million ($1,813,320)
– French Open – £1 million ($1,511,100)
Big money certainly. But over the past 40 years, sponsorship in sports has been on a constant and unending rise. And this part of the game is where the real money seems to lie.
Take Roger Federer for example. His on-court earnings are approximately £6 million (approx $9,066,600) pounds. However, in sponsorship deals with the likes of Nike, Gillette and Rolex, he is taking home over £35 million pounds (over $52,888,500), which far eclipses his winnings purse.
Likewise Serena Williams. Her winnings are around £3.4 million pounds ($5,137,740). However, her sponsorship deals come to around £7 million ($10,577,700).
So why the substantial amounts? Well, from a purely marketing prospective, it’s a simple fact that much younger audiences are watching tennis. There are more younger people, with more disposable income watching and brands are keen to capitalize on this. It’s a circle that is self-perpetuating. Brands appeal to the target audience, and the target audience watch tennis. The more people that watch tennis, the more brands are keen to become sponsors.
In the sporting world, a player’s image can pave the way for multi-million pound deals and a celebrity status. It could be that this ‘glamorisation’ of the sport is what attracts the younger crowd.
The question is will it adversely affect tennis? Well, at the moment, on a positive note for example, long term agreements at Wimbledon try to ensure a level of decorum. These Official Supplier agreements allow brands the freedom to sponsor, with minimal commercialization of the actual grounds.
Sponsorship can have a detrimental effect on a player in other ways. For example, the added pressure for players to adhere to certain conditions laid out by sponsors can prove to be stressful. Their every waking movement is constantly reported by the media. If something negative on a personal level is noticed, this can have a massive effect.
Look at cycling; in the space of a just a few days Nike, Trek and Anheuser-Bush all cut their reported £50 Million pound ties when shamed athlete Lance Armstrong admitted cheating. And, as he acknowledged “it was all gone and probably never coming back”.
Sponsorship in tennis can be beneficial in many ways, but it must be closely monitored .
Bio: This article was contributed by Halit Bozdogan on behalf of Wimbledon Debenture Holders. For more information, or to find corporate Wimbledon tickets visit the website now.