SBD/January 23, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

Marketing Potential Skyrocketing For Bouchard With Surprising Australian Open Run

Bouchard has deals with Nike, Tourna Grip, Tennis Canada and Babolat, among others
Tennis player Eugenie Bouchard lost in the semifinals of the Australian Open today, but her agent, Sam Duvall, believes the "new golden girl of tennis can become the sport's most famous player and surpass Maria Sharapova as the most marketable female athlete on the planet," according to Michael Chammas of the Melbourne AGE. Duvall, the VP/Tennis at Lagardere Unlimited, has worked with the 19-year-old Canadian since she was 13, said, "She's got the personality, she's got the game, she's got the looks. She speaks two languages (French and English) and the crossover appeal is great." He added, "If Maria is the bar, Genie has the ability to exceed that bar. She has to perform on the court to do that, and Genie knows that. Maria has won four slams. Her marketability, if she performs, I have to say is better than anyone on tour. She is the total package. It's unbelievable how focused this girl is." Bouchard's "resume of sponsors" includes Rogers Communications, Pinty's Delicious Foods, Tourna Grip, Babolat and Tennis Canada. But interest in Bouchard, whose "main sponsorship deal is with Nike, has skyrocketed over the past week given her success and the impression she has made" with her surprising run at the Australian Open. Duvall said, "We've gotten some requests for initial talks with some watch companies and things like that. She has got some good deals in Canada already. ... But everything is going to predicated by her tennis. She knows that. She's in a good spot" (Melbourne AGE, 1/23). FS1's Andy Roddick said Bouchard is going to be the "new star in women's tennis." Roddick: "She is easy on the eyes, fellas, but this girl has serious game. She's hot, she's got Madison Avenue drooling." FS1's Charissa Thompson: "Bouchard. Hot girl. That's all you really need to know." Roddick said Bouchard could "be the next Sharapova, Serena Williams, mainstream star" ("Fox Sports Live," FS1, 1/21).

YOU'RE THE INSPIRATION: SPORTS ON EARTH's Lindsay Gibbs noted Bouchard "found inspiration" in Sharapova, who beat Williams at the age of 17 for the '04 Wimbledon title. Bouchard also "takes after Sharapova when it comes to looks and marketing potential, and, like her idol, she will have to deal with the media's unfortunate desire to make those things overshadow her athletic accomplishments." Following her win over Ana Ivanovic on Tuesday to advance to the semifinals, Bouchard was "teased about her many male admirers." Bouchard was asked "who her dream date would be" and replied with singer Justin Bieber. As the "boos rang down from the boisterous Melbourne crowd, journalists everywhere began to pen stories that focused on Bouchard's love life, not her tennis game." But, as "frustrating as these media diversions are, you can't blame Bouchard for them." While it "remains to be seen how she will handle the distractions as her profile continues to skyrocket, there are certainly encouraging signs that she won't let it go to her head" (SPORTSONEARTH.com, 1/22).

THE START OF SOMETHING BIG? In Toronto, Damien Cox writes fans "can’t measure what Bouchard accomplished in Melbourne just by" her loss to Li Na today in the semifinals. This is "quite possibly the beginning of something quite beautiful for Canadian tennis" (TORONTO STAR, 1/23). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Tom Perrotta wrote it is "not outlandish to think that women's tennis might, in the near future, steal some momentum from the men's game and its Big Four ... with three or four worthy rivals of its own." Perrotta: "This youth rebellion has been a long time in the making" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/22).
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