SBD/January 24, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

Bouchard Sees Marketability, Social Media Presence Soar After Australian Open Run

Bouchard made this year's Australian Open the most watched in Canadian TV history

The agents for tennis player Eugenie Bouchard “are focused on Canada first” for marketing deals and, “in the international big picture, on companies that may have global reach, but have solid roots in Bouchard’s homeland,” according to Stephanie Myles of the Montreal GAZETTE. Lagardère Unlimited Dir of Talent Marketing/Tennis Drew Lemesurier, who serves as one of Bouchard’s agents alongside Lagardère VP/Tennis Sam Duvall, said, “We definitely want to strike while the iron is hot, but she’s 19 years old. This is a girl that’s going to -- knock on wood -- be playing for the next 10 years and be winning Grand Slams. So we’re not just looking for the first opportunity that comes our way.” Lemesurier: “Our strategy is to look for long-term opportunities with brands for which she’ll be at the forefront of their marketing, who will be a true partner.” Duvall added, “The best thing is that Genie wants to do the media stuff. She understands that it’s part of her job, not just playing tennis -- more than any player we’ve ever worked with.” Myles notes Bouchard’s current roster of sponsors includes Nike, Babolat and a “new deal with Pinty’s, a poultry company whose commercials have been on constant rotation during the Australian Open’s coverage on TSN.” Bouchard also “wears the Sharapova line of clothing.” Myles: “But can she thrive being Nike’s second or third priority on the women’s side? Or would she be better off being the marquee player for another brand?” (Montreal GAZETTE, 1/24).

BRIGHT FUTURE: The GLOBE & MAIL’s Brady & Gordon in a front-page piece write Bouchard’s run to the Aussie Open semis “captured big prize money, record TV ratings and tennis hearts around the world and, from a marketing perspective, the ball is now" in her court. Bouchard's success "ignited excitement on social media and drew new viewers to the sport." TSN said that this year's event "was the most-watched Australian Open in the history of Canadian television." Duvall said that "she could be more marketable” than Sharapova. The homepage of the Nike Tennis’ website on Thursday had Bouchard’s "likeness right there with" Sharapova. Since the Australian Open began, Bouchard's official Facebook page "has earned an additional 80,000 Likes," and she "now has more than 100,000 followers on Twitter." brandRapport Sports Marketing Dir Nigel Currie said, "Marketers have male athletic role models coming out of their ears, but they don’t have nearly as many female sports stars who could be recognized in all corners of the world and have all the attributes they want. I would expect the same type of companies who are drawn to Sharapova to be drawn to Bouchard -- glamour watches, cosmetics, fashion. Her selling points are she speaks great English, communicates well, and has a very feminine look" (GLOBE & MAIL, 1/24).

STAN THE MAN: Stanislas Wawrinka will play in his first Grand Slam final on Sunday, and ESPN's Darren Cahill said Wawrinka not only "had his best year last year on the court, but he also had his best year off the court with a lot of endorsements deals as well." Cahill: "If he was from another country, say from the four Grand Slam countries and he spent about four years inside the top 20, then he would have had some pretty lucrative deals. But because he's coming from Switzerland and is swallowed up a little bit by Roger Federer, it's tough to jump out of that shadow." However, Wawrinka in '13 signed "five really good endorsement deals and now is making some pretty good money off the court" ("Australian Open," ESPN2, 1/23).

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