Published February 8, 2011
Li Na now has deals with Haagen-Dazs, Rolex, Babolat, Nike and SpiderTech
Australian Open women’s finalist Li Na will endorse Haagen-Dazs in a deal unveiled in Beijing this morning. It is believed to be the first athlete endorsement deal for the premium ice cream maker. The press conference, at a Haagen-Dazs store in the city, represents Li’s first appearance in her home country since becoming the first Asian -- male or female -- to make a Grand Slam final. She is also unveiling a new endorsement with Rolex this week. Max Eisenbud, her agent at IMG, is moving quickly to capitalize on her Australian Open run in part because at 28, she likely only has a few more prime years to play. It has only been since ‘08 that Chinese athletes have been able to keep a majority of their income. Li, who is ranked No. 7 in the world, now has deals with Haagen-Dazs, Rolex, Babolat, Nike and SpiderTech for medical tape. The Haagen-Dazs deal is global, though it will be largely focused in China. It is worth about mid-six figures annually for several years. Asked why an ice cream maker would use an athlete, Eisenbud replied the themes Haagen-Dazs will tape in ads are guilty pleasures and romance, using Li’s relationship with her coach, who is also her husband.