SBD/September 16, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Roger Federer Still Seen As Top Endorser At Late Stage Of Tennis Career

Federer is favored by many price-insensitive, luxury good companies
Roger Federer's "ability to monetize his career has been light-years ahead of that of any tennis player who ever lived," according to R. James Breiding of the N.Y. TIMES. Forbes ranks Federer’s wealth at $400M and he has earned a record $77M in career winnings since he turned pro in '98, but the "bulk of his wealth has arisen from a flurry of sponsorships from companies" like Rolex, Nike, Gillette, Moet & Chandon and Crédit Suisse. While Federer’s competition on the court has "stiffened, his competition off the court is fading." David Beckham and former F1 driver Michael Schumacher have retired, and Lakers G Kobe Bryant is "nearing the end of his career." Lance Armstrong has "fallen from grace," and Tiger Woods has "alienated a good number of fans." The "Swiss element is a factor" in Federer's popularity. People "associate Switzerland with reliability, precision, modesty and perfection, and Federer embodies all those qualities." Federer also is "associated with style and class, so he is favored by price-insensitive luxury goods like Rolex and Moet & Chandon." Sponsors "love Federer’s evasive armor because it improves predictability and duration." He is "surrounded (and protected) by a finely tuned machine, among the most discreet and professional in tennis." Federer's endorsement contracts are "long term and thought to continue even if he loses his top standing." He has "consistently made it clear that he hopes to play for several more years, and he has proved experts wrong in the past." Financial incentives "may tempt Federer to lumber on." His "combination of dominance and decency has made him special in the hearts of his fans -- and his sponsors" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/15).
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