SBD/January 6, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Andy Murray Starting Tennis Season Without Sponsors On Shirt

Murray historically sported a patch from RBS, his sponsor since age 14

Andy Murray will wear a shirt "without any sponsor logos or patches on the sleeves" for at least the first few weeks of the tennis season, according to Mark Hodgkinson of the London TELEGRAPH. Murray in previous years has advertised RBS and Highland Spring on his sleeves, but "those contracts have expired so he has unpicked the patches while his representatives at 19 Management renegotiate." It seems "certain that he will appear at the Australian Open, which starts on Jan. 17, in a blank shirt." While RBS has "sponsored Murray since he was 14, and he has worn a Highland Spring patch for the past four years," his reps at 19 Management are "talking to other companies about possibly sponsoring" the tennis star. Murray was "due to wear his 'clean' kit on Monday at the Hopman Cup exhibition in Perth." Hodgkinson noted while tennis players who endorse Nike are "contractually obliged to wear ‘clean’ shirts without any other companies’ logos, Murray’s contract with Adidas, which is believed to be worth seven figures a year, allows him to have a couple of patches" (London TELEGRAPH, 1/3).

HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS: Tennis player Kei Nishikori has signed a five-year sponsorship agreement with apparel company Uniqlo, based in his native Japan. IMG, which reps Nishikori, claims that he is the highest-profile athlete to endorse the brand (IMG).

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