SBD/August 20, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Sugar & Spice: Sharapova Drops Idea About Changing Name To Promote Line Of Candy

Sugarpova had contemplated a two-week name change around the U.S. Open
Tennis player Maria Sharapova has decided "not to change her name to Sugarpova for the U.S. Open next week," according to Darren Rovell of Max Eisenbud, Sharapova's agent, said that there was "serious consideration" given to changing Sharapova's name in an attempt to promote her line of candy. However, he said Sharapova's team "ultimately decided against it." Eisenbud: "Maria has pushed her team to do fun, out-of-the-box-type things to get the word out about Sugarpova. In Miami, we're going to fill a glass truck full of candy and drive it around town. This was an idea that fell along those lines. But, at the end of the day, we would have to change all her identification, she has to travel to Japan and China right after the tournament and it was going to be very difficult" (, 8/20). In London, Neil Harman reported the name change would have been "for the two-week duration of the US Open." Sharapova had "asked about a 'quickie' name-change through the Supreme Court of Florida" and had planned to "revert to Sharapova" after the tournament ends. Meanwhile, it is believed that the "striking emblem of Sugarpova candy, a pair of red lips, will feature somewhere on her attire" during the tournament (LONDON TIMES, 8/20).

GOING DOWN A BAD ROAD: ESPN's Jemele Hill called Sharapova's potential name change "disgraceful" and said she is "better than ... a cheap ploy for attention." Hill: "As an accomplished female tennis player, do I really want people calling me Sugarpova? She may only get this name change for a few weeks, but that's sticking. ... I don't know if I would want my brand to be that because it's already hard enough for women athletes to be taken seriously. So this strikes me as something that's making it that much more harder." ESPN's Adnan Virk said this would be "something for a player who's trying to make a name for themselves." However, Sharapova is a "major player ... and probably doesn’t need this kind of a parlor trick." Hill said, "This is another one of those things that kind of separates Serena Williams from everybody else. Can you imagine her being Sugar Serena, Serena Sugar? Not going down, not how she thinks" ("Mike & Mike," ESPN Radio, 8/20). The N.Y. Times' Christopher Clarey tweeted, "Sharapova name change story reads like something out of The Onion." ESPN's Michele Steele tweeted, "Sharapova has always done a fine job staying classy with her marketing. This is not classy. Fans would boo her for it."
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