SBD/August 25, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

Stan Wawrinka Re-Signs With Yonex In Most Lucrative Deal In Company's History

Wawrinka's new deal stretches through '18 and will pay him nearly $20M
Yonex has agreed to re-sign tennis player Stan Wawrinka to a deal that is the "most lucrative contract in the Japanese company’s history," according to Daniel Kaplan of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. A source said that the agreement "covers sneakers, apparel and racket," stretches through '18 and will pay Wawrinka nearly $20M. The "value of a tennis deal typically depends on the player’s performance, at least in part." But the source said that the money in this deal "is guaranteed." Wawrinka has "played with and worn Yonex the last four years" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 8/25 issue).

ROGER THAT: In N.Y., Stuart Miller examines whether racket manufacturers are selling products used by professional tennis players or those endorsed by them. Wilson recently unveiled its signature Roger Federer Pro Staff RF 97 Autograph racket, but the brand said that it is "offering more than a racket with Federer's signature on it." Wilson Global Product Dir John Lyons: "We want to be clear this is his actual racket, not a ‘signature racket’ or ‘racket of choice.’” Lyons was "referring to the many rackets sponsored by top players with vague phrases like the one put forth by the tennis company Head: 'Andy Murray’s racket of choice.'” On Head’s website, the "fine print for each player’s racket, like Murray’s or Novak Djokovic’s, says, 'Head Pro players may play with different rackets from the model shown.'” Federer said that the racket "coming to stores in October was 'the one I’m playing with.'” But amateur tennis players have "often been skeptical of such claims." Babolat last year "was sued in California by a customer, Payam Ahdoot, who asserted that the phrase 'racket of choice' meant the star used the racket in question." Babolat argued that this was “'irrationally literal' but decided to settle rather than slog through the courts." The company will "now use disclaimers stating that pro players may use a different racket from the one depicted" (N.Y. TIMES, 8/25). 
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