The sponsorship landscape at the top of professional tennis
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.
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 2018 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
Eleven brands are getting exposure by the top 30 women. Adidas (6) and Nike (10) supply over half of the top players.
Asics follows with four players, while Lotto and Fila each have two players playing in their gear.
The top 30 plays with seven different brands of rackets: Wilson (11), Babolat (7), Yonex (6), Head (3), Dunlop Srixon, Prince and Tecnifibre (each 1).
Tennis sponsorships top 30 men
Note: This overview is from the beginning of 2018. So Federer‘s switch from Nike to Uniqlo (at Wimbledon 2018) has not yet been taken into account.
The top 30 men wear 14 different clothing brands. Nike (7), Adidas (5) and Fila (4) are the main clothing sponsors. Other brands – Lotto, Under Armour, Sergio Tacchini, Uniqlo, Yonex, Asics, Joma, Lacoste, New Balance, Mizuno and Hydrogen – sponsor either one or two of the high-profile players.
The best 30 male players play with six different brands of rackets: Wilson (11), Babolat (8), Head (6), Yonex, Prince (each 2) and Dunlop Srixon (1).
Some brands have lost high profile players in recent years. At the beginning of 2018 Adidas’ deal with Simona Halep ended. The Romanian confirmed her new deal with Nike in February of 2018. While Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova switched from Adidas to Sofibella.
Diadora picked up several players for the 2018 season, including Robin Haase and Alexandr Dolgopolov. While Nike signed 2017 US Open champ Sloane Stephens.
In 2016 Tomas Berdych traded his H&M gear, which he helped co-design, for Adidas. While Lacoste parted ways with John Isner and David Goffin at the end of 2015. Isner agreed a deal with Fila, while Goffin switched to Asics.
In recent years Japanese company Mizuno – much like Diadora recently – has increased their focus on the tennis market. In 2016 for example the brand signed big server Ivo Karlovic and Marcos Baghdatis for gear and Roberto Bautista Agut for shoes. In 2017 Mizuno partnered with Philipp Kohlschreiber and Kiki Bertens.
Value of tennis sponsorships
Another Japanese company, Uniqlo, saw their partnership with Novak Djokovic come to end in 2017. In the past Uniqlo made a great move by signing Djokovic when his deal with Sergio Tacchini went south and when few other brands saw the potential or had the means. With the Serbian’s many successes they were able to capitalise big on this partnership. Djokovic now wears Lacoste clothing.
Despite losing the former world number one, Uniqlo still sponsors Japanese super star Kei Nishikori. This deal was renewed at the beginning of 2016 and may well exceed $10 million a year, according to insiders.
Other high ranked players, like Federer and Serena Williams, have had the same sponsor for years. Federer has a reported 10-year contract worth over $10 million a year with Nike. That is a similar reported value as Nadal’s contract with Nike. In comparison, Murray’s contract with Under Armour is thought to be a four-year deal worth around £15million (around $5.3 million a year).
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: