The sponsorship landscape at the top of professional tennis
Note: This overview is from the beginning of 2019. So midseason switches, like Osaka‘s switch from Adidas to Nike (April 2019), have not been taken into account.
A new tennis season means new outfits on court. But what does the sponsorship landscape at the top of professional tennis look like?
In this article we look at some (recent) major deals and break down the sponsors of the top 30 men and women. You can also have a look at our overview of men and women tennis sponsorships and shirt sponsors in tennis.
Sponsorship breakdown of the top 30
To map the sponsorship landscape at the top of professional tennis, an overview was made of the top 30 men and women at the start of the 2019 season and their clothing and racket sponsors.
A range of brands sponsors the elite of professional tennis. It is clear that Nike and Adidas, the most recognisable brands in the sports apparel industry, are well represented in tennis. The same goes for Babolat, Wilson, Head and Yonex for rackets.
Yet smaller and upcoming brands are also getting eyeballs on their brand via high ranked players.
Tennis sponsorships top 30 women
Eight brands are getting exposure by the top 30 women. Nike (10) and Adidas (6) supply over half of the top players.
Lotto follows with four players, while Fila has three players playing in their gear.
Top-30 players also wear Lacoste (2), Yonex and Asics (both 1). Camila Giorgi wears her own clothing line. Two players do not have a (visible) sponsor at the moment.
The female top 30 plays with five different brands of rackets: Wilson (11), Babolat (7), Yonex, Head (both 5) and Tecnifibre (1). One player currently plays with a blacked out racket.
Tennis sponsorships top 30 men
The top 30 men wear 11 different clothing brands. Nike (7), Adidas (5), Fila, Lotto and Lacoste (all 3) are the main clothing sponsors. Other brands – EA7 (Emporio Armani), Le Coq Sportif, Uniqlo, Asics, Joma and New Balance – sponsor either one or two of the high-profile players.
The top 30 male players play with seven different brands of rackets: Wilson (12), Head (9), Babolat (4), Yonex (2), Prince, Tecnifibre and Dunlop Srixon (all 1).
In 2018 Roger Federer and Nike parted ways after a long and fruitful relationship. The Swiss maestro switched to Japanese brand Uniqlo for clothing, but still wears Nike shoes. His personal logo is currently still under Nike’s control, but the rights might come back to him in the future.
Uniqlo could add Federer to their portfolio that already held Kei Nishikori, because they parted ways with Novak Djokovic in 2017. The Serbian now wears Lacoste clothing and Asics shoes.
Top female switches
On the women’s side Simona Halep switched to Nike from Adidas at the beginning of 2018. Nike also added Sloane Stephens to their portfolio last season.
For the 2019 season Anett Kontaveit switched from Adidas to Lacoste clothing and Nike shoes. Another top-30 player switching brands is Kiki Bertens. The Dutch player played in Mizuno gear since 2017, but now wears Fila.
Elise Mertens traded her Babolat rackets for Head in the off-season.
Hydrogen – the skull logo brand – also made some high profile signings this off-season. Although the Italian brand saw Fabio Fognini switch to EA7 (Emporio Armani) and Nikoloz Basilashvili to Lotto, they were able to secure Tomas Berdych and Feliciano Lopez. Berdych has had several sponsors in recent years. In 2016 he traded his H&M gear, which he helped co-design, for Adidas. Which will now be replaced by Hydrogen.
Feliciano Lopez switched to Hydrogen from Ellesse. A change in company structure (Japanese and European branch) is said to be the reason for parting ways with the Spaniard and also with Olympic champion Monica Puig. Puig switched to full Yonex gear for 2019.
Value of tennis sponsorships
Federer’s old 10-year Nike contract had a reported value of $10 million a year. Uniqlo supposedly pays him $300 million over 10 years, tripling his old contract.
Other high ranked players, like Nadal and Serena Williams, have had the same sponsor for years. Nadal’s contract with Nike is said to be similar to Federer’s old Nike contract. While Uniqlo’s deal with Kei Nishikori (renewed in 2016) may well exceed $10 million a year, according to insiders.
Djokovic supposedly earns around $9.4 million a year from his five-year contract with Lacoste and $4 million for wearing Asics shoes.
In comparison, Murray’s contract with Under Armour was a four-year deal thought to be worth around £15million (around $4.8 million a year). The deal expired in 2018 and with retirement looming, Murray will now play in Castore.
Overview tennis sponsorships
Of course sponsorship deals end and new ones are formed. Finding a (right) sponsor is not always easy. Yet the sponsorship landscape at the top of professional tennis is diverse with quite some brands sponsoring the players’ clothing and rackets.
To know which brands players are wearing and playing with you can take a look at our overview of tennis sponsorships: