SBD/July 7, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

Wimbledon Loss May Have Cost Bouchard Sponsorships, But IMG Wants To Sign Her

Experts say a Grand Slam title likely will catapult Bouchard's earnings potential
Marketing experts said that tennis player Eugenie Bouchard's loss to Petra Kvitova on Saturday in the Wimbledon women's final "may have cost her millions in sponsorship income," as she would have "landed numerous seven-figure deals had she won," according to Ethan Lou of the CP. York Univ. sports marketing professor Vijay Setlur said that reaching the final "only showed the 20-year-old has potential, and that is not enough." Setlur: "Once that potential is realized, then more brands will present offers or partnerships because you're dealing now with an athlete that's proven." Marketing firm Cosmos Sports President Cary Kaplan said that Bouchard will "need a championship to 'catapult' her earnings potential, but predicted her future is bright" (CP, 7/6). But the CBC's Pete Evans wrote the "door is very much open for a new, marketable female tennis pro" because there is "no clear hierarchy in women's tennis at the moment." Maria Sharapova is "currently the highest-paid female athlete on earth," winning $2.4M in prize money this season, but also "raking in" $22M worth of endorsements every year. Toronto-based S&E Sponsorship Group President Brian Cooper said that there is "no reason Bouchard can't beat that." Cooper: "A pretty face, or a feel-good Canadian story doesn't have the sustainability. If she can handle the winning side of things, she can absolutely be the highest-paid female athlete in the world" (CBC.ca, 7/4).

CONTRACT YEAR: BLOOMBERG NEWS' Danielle Rossingh reported IMG is "trying to sign" Bouchard, whose management contract with Lagardere Unlimited "expires this year." IMG Global Head of Tennis Fernando Soler said, "We would love to represent Eugenie Bouchard. We’ve stressed our interest to sign her. We’ve been in touch with her." He added Bouchard, the first Canadian to reach a major singles final on either the men's or women's side, "has all the elements to succeed." Lagardere VP/Tennis Sam Duvall, who currently reps Bouchard, said that they are "in talks to renew" (BLOOMBERG.com, 7/4).

ALL-IN-ONE: Generate Sponsorship co-Founder Rupert Pratt discussed Wimbledon’s appeal to sponsors, noting "from a commercial perspective it's got everything: Global appeal, global TV audiences, prestige, heritage." He noted companies "pay more for ultimately less because it's not cluttered, it creates an exclusive environment and sponsors then compete to become part of that environment. In some ways it's more appealing, but then of course sponsors have to work harder to leverage that association” (TELEGRAPH.co.uk, 7/4).
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