SBD/August 28, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

CiCi Bellis Not Likely To Signs Any Big Deals Soon In Order To Keep Amateur Status

Though not sponsored by the brand, Bellis was sporting Nike gear Tuesday
Fifteen-year-old American tennis player CiCi Bellis on Tuesday became the youngest competitor to win a U.S. Open match in 18 years, but it is "doubtful she will strike big endorsement deals anytime soon" since she intends to keep her amateur status, according to E.J. Schultz of AD AGE. Bellis following the match said, "I'm definitely going to stay an amateur right now to keep my options open for college, in case an injury or something happens. But I'd love to be a pro one day." Even if she turns pro, Bellis "might have to win a few more matches before marketers come calling." Intersport Senior VP/Sponsorship & Event Marketing Dan Jones said, "This as of now is a flash in the pan, a fantastic win (and) fantastic upset. But it's not going to warrant a lot of brands making serious inquiries until she can do it consistently." Jones noted Victoria Duval last year at 17 years old "won attention at the U.S. Open after upsetting 2011 champion Samantha Stosur." But he said, "That win alone did not catapult Duval into a windfall of endorsements." Schultz noted Bellis will "certainly get some marketer attention." Jones said that she could "draw interest from brands close to tennis, such as apparel makers." She was "sporting Nike gear" on Tuesday (ADAGE.com, 8/27). In N.Y., John Branch writes under the header, "A Prodigy Calmly Jolts Her Sport." Bellis' arrival "had all the subtlety of a comet, but it was no surprise to those who have coached and played with Bellis in recent years" (N.Y. TIMES, 8/28).

SURPRISE, SURPRISE: CBS' Elaine Quijano said U.S. Open officials were "so caught off guard" during Bellis' upset of Dominika Cibulkova Tuesday that they "had to scramble cameras to her court." Tournament Dir David Brewer said Bellis was on Court Six, which was "absolutely packed to the rafters ... as people started to understand what might be transpiring" ("Evening News," CBS, 8/27). In N.Y., Filip Bondy writes Open officials placed Bellis' match today against Zarina Diyas on "just the right spot, Court 17." That is a "showcase stadium big enough to hold a precious phenom, yet still a good distance" from Arthur Ashe and Louis Armstrong stadiums. Bellis seems like an "anachronism, like one of those kids from decades ago who used to come from nowhere and take on the older women without blinking" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 8/28).
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