SBD/September 14, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Sergio Tacchini May Have Trouble Paying Bonuses Owed To Novak Djokovic

Djokovic signed a reported 15-year deal with Sergio Tacchini in '09
Italy-based apparel company Sergio Tacchini is "likely going to have a hard time paying" bonuses due to top-ranked tennis player Novak Djokovic this year, according to sources cited by Darren Rovell of CNBC.com. The company is "barely eeking out a profit and its production and distribution have hurt its ability to capitalize" on Djokovic's '11 season, during which he has won three Grand Slams. Despite Djokovic winning the U.S. Open on Monday, Tacchini "doesn't even have its Djokovic US Open designs in stores yet." Those are "expected in the last week of this month or even into October." This comes after the designs Tacchini had Djokovic wear during this year's French Open hit some retailers "two months after the tournament." Brian Hirschfeld, who owns Baltimore-based tennis retailer Holabird Sports, said, "It's not only that the apparel comes two months late. We were shorted on tons of product. We had to tell the customer who was waiting for it for months that they'd have to wait longer. It has been very frustrating." Rovell reported Nike and adidas "are salivating at the possibility of the very marketable Djokovic falling into their hands, speculating that Tacchini can't keep paying Djokovic his heavily incentivized deal without better turnaround and sales" (CNBC.com, 9/13). Djokovic signed with Tacchini in '09, and his current deal is for 15 years. Meanwhile, luxury watchmaker Audemars Piguet runs a full-page ad in today's N.Y. Times congratulating Djokovic for winning this year's U.S. Open (THE DAILY).

RISING STAR: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Jason Gay reports Djokovic "intends to build his profile." Yesterday he appeared on CBS' "The Early Show," NBC's "Today," "Live with Regis & Kelly" and CNN before making an appearance at the Empire State Building and on NBC's "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon." A sit-down interview with PBS' Charlie Rose also is scheduled. As Djokovic made his rounds in N.Y. yesterday, "accompanying his entourage" was PR firm Sunshine, Sachs & Associates President Ken Sunshine, whose clients include Leonardo DiCaprio and Jon Bon Jovi. Despite the success, Gay writes, "Djokovic is not jaded. He is still in that endearing, semi-awestruck stage of stardom" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 9/14). The AP's Howard Fendrich reported Djokovic "wants to pursue acting." He said, "Yeah. Why not? I might do something if I have time soon. And I would like to. I just think show business is something that attracts me, that I really like watching, that I like being a part of. It's part of my personality." Djokovic noted that he "already has a couple of offers to consider" (AP, 9/13).

YOU WIN SOME, YOU LOSE SOME: YAHOO SPORTS' Chris Chase listed his winners and losers from this year's U.S. Open, and the sport of tennis was among those garnering a positive review. Chase: "Tennis wins because it was near the top of the sports news cycle on Sunday and Monday despite the NFL's opening weekend." Sponsors for Li Na, however, were a "loser" after the French Open winner lost in the first round for the second straight Grand Slam. Chase wrote, "For $42 million, Nike, Mercedes and others got a total of 94 minutes of court time during a match that was played in the middle of the Chinese night" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 9/13). Meanwhile, FORBES' Patrick Rishe writes sponsors watching replays of Serena Williams' outburst toward the chair umpire "cringe with displeasure." Rishe: "Does she want to leave like a graceful champion who further crafts an image worthy of long-term corporate appeal? Or will she exit stage right as a scowling, howling freight-train veering off into the doubles-lane with ethics outside the lines while double-faulting away years of hard earned good will?" (FORBES.com, 9/14).
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