SBD/Issue 243/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

Serena Williams Hopes To Ride U.S. Open Win To New Endorsements

Serena's U.S. Open Victory Could Spur
Talks With Several Potential Sponsors
Serena Williams' U.S. Open win may help move negotiations along with several potential sponsors, said Jill Smoller, the William Morris agent who represents the new No. 1-ranked player. Speaking shortly after Williams spoke to reporters at the ESPN Zone in Manhattan yesterday, Smoller said she is talking with beverage, automobile and fast food companies. Williams also said she was due to turn in designs on a dress this morning, and mentioned designer Diane von Furstenberg. Smoller said she was preparing to announce a new fashion deal for Williams, but would not comment specifically on the details. She currently has deals with Hewlett Packard, Kraft, Wilson and Nike. Talking to reporters, Williams spoke of playing more events so she could retain her top ranking, a sentiment sure to draw smiles at Sony Ericsson WTA Tour HQs. Asked now that she is No. 1 if she wants to equal Maria Sharapova in terms of endorsement earnings, Williams responded she had done that before, meaning having been the top paid female athlete. Sharapova is believed now to earn $25M annually with Williams likely less than half that (though performance incentives for being No. 1 and winning a Slam make the comparison difficult). Smoller said Williams, who likes to act in TV shows and movies, would keep her number of deals manageable (Daniel Kaplan, SportsBusiness Journal). Nabisco's Double Stuf Oreo runs an ad in USA Today congratulating Williams for winning the women's singles title. Williams endorses the product as part of the Double Stuf Racing League (THE DAILY).

Ivanovic, Howard And Altidore
In Latest Got Milk? Campaign
DOES A BODY GOOD: BRANDWEEK's Barry Janoff  reported WTAer Ana Ivanovic, Magic C Dwight Howard and La Liga club Villareal F Jozy Altidore will be the "latest athletes to be featured in a got milk? effort." The campaign will "differ from past campaigns in that it will promote chocolate milk as well as support milk's role in exercise recovery." The effort, managed by the Milk Processor Education Program, DC, will "be anchored by print, Internet, a 25-city 'Refuel Your School' tour to reward 25 high school athletic teams for choosing chocolate milk to refuel and rehydrate, and a 'Go Pro For A Day' sweepstakes" (BRANDWEEK.com, 9/8).

CHECK MATES: In Manchester, Mark Sweney reports Nike has launched a "series of animated online ads that tell the story of the challenges faced by athletes," including WTAer Maria Sharapova, as "part of a pan-European campaign to inspire young women." The five spots, via Wieden & Kennedy, Amsterdam, are part of a larger multimedia campaign and will be available on Nike's Women Web site, set to launch Friday. The ads, which use the tagline "Here I Am," also feature sprinter Nicola Sanders, triathlete Nicola Spirig, triple jumper athlete Simona La Mantia and judo athlete Delphine Delsalle (Manchester GUARDIAN, 9/9). BRAND REPUBLIC reports the films "use a variety of animation styles, from CGI to sketched animations, to showcase the inner strengths of various female athletes" (BRANDREPUBLIC.com, 9/8).

NEW DOUBLES PARTNER? SI.com's Jon Wertheim wrote, "If I'm the WTA, I'm looking for a new title sponsor," as Sony Ericsson's profit last quarter "plunged 97[%]." It is hard for the company "to justify spending 10 figures" on the sponsorship. But "on the plus side, the WTA ... is making so much money from the year-end championship derby that the tour will be fine" (SI.com, 9/8).

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