The Brand Rafael Nadal: Sponsors (Part 1)
Rafael Nadal is talented, successful, has good looks and has a great mentality. Qualities that make major brands line up to become his sponsor and tie their name to him.
So far Nadal has earned over $103 million in career prize money (ATP as of January 2019). He earned over $8.6 million of that in 2018 after winning five titles.
The Spaniard also earns a lot of money off-court from endorsements. Forbes Annual Ranking of top-paid athletes puts Nadal’s endorsement earnings at $27 million in the past year alone. Which makes him third in the ranking of endorsement income for tennis players, only behind Federer and Nishikori, but before Djokovic. (He is second when taking into account prize money)
Below we take a look at Nadal’s sponsors that contribute to the $27 million of endorsement income. His partners and their sponsorship activations represent to a great degree the brand Rafael Nadal. In the second part of The Brand Rafael Nadal we look at Nadal’s businesses, including the Rafa Nadal Academy.
Rafael Nadal’s Sponsors
Nadal has seven sponsors at the moment (June 2019) with several of them being long-time sponsors. Given Nadal’s success it is not strange that brands like Nike want to continue partnering with him. The brands are active in different industries, from watches to automotive.
|Cantabria Labs Heliocare||Sun Protection||Spain||2019|
Some of Nadal’s previous partnerships were with Armani, Tommy Hilfiger, Banco Sabadell and Mueller Sports Medicine.
Nike and the Nadal bull logo
Nadal has a long-term deal with American sports apparel company Nike. The deal is said to be worth $10 million per year at the moment.
Like Sharapova and Serena Williams, Nadal has his own collection with Nike. He once had a distinct style of longer shorts and sleeveless tops, but these days his collection is more traditional.
A lot of pieces in Nadal’s Nike collection have the bull logo on it. The bull logo is the Spaniard’s personal logo, which he also uses for his academy.
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Spanish companies sponsor their star
Mapfre, Telefónica and Cantabria Labs Heliocare are the Spanish company sponsoring Rafael Nadal.
Mapfre, an insurance company, also sponsors the Spanish tennis federation. By partnering both the federation and Nadal, Spanish greatest ever tennis player, they have a stronger position. The company also sponsors the Rafa Nadal Tour, a tennis tour for Spanish youngsters set up in 2014.
Movistar, which is part of sponsor Telefónica, has tied its name to the Rafael Nadal Academy. In the first half of 2017 Nadal and Movistar teamed up to surprise people in a mall using virtual reality.
In 2019 Cantabria Labs Heliocare announced a partnership that sees Nadal help “raise awareness of the importance of good sun protection and healthy sun exposure lifestyle”. The deal also includes the Rafa Nadal Foundation, the Rafa Nadal Tour by Mapfre and Nadal’s Academy in Mallorca.
Watches from Richard Mille a good fit with tennis
High-end watch brands and tennis go well together with both industries having the characteristics of elegance and precision. These similarities in image result in many well-known brands like Rolex, Citizen, Richard Mille and TAG Heuer being involved in tennis and sponsoring players (e.g. Federer, Osaka).
Nadal started his partnership with Richard Mille in 2010. He always plays with a custom made watch. Many of Richard Mille’s watches are linked to sports stars (like Felipe Massa and Wayde van Niekerk), including several to Nadal.
Kia’s marketing campaigns
Kia and Nadal’s partnership dates back to 2006. In 2015 the two renewed their partnership for five more years. During the Australian Open, Kia especially uses Nadal in commercials as they also sponsor the tournament (see the 2017 commercial).
On court sponsor Babolat
The Spaniard has long been playing with Babolat. He uses the connected technology by Babolat and at Roland Garros in 2015 the fans could see the data from his Babolat racket on the stadium screen at the end of a match.
With $27 million in endorsement income in the past year, it is clear that Nadal is marketable. He might be behind some other tennis players in the amount earned, but Nadal is a great ‘brand’ to sponsor due to his qualities on and off the court.
In the second part of The Brand Rafael Nadal we take a look at Nadal’s businesses.