SBJ/October 1 - 7, 2001/Marketingsponsorship

Henman gets a lifetime deal in re-signing with Adidas

After flirting with leaving Adidas, British tennis star Tim Henman has agreed to re-sign with the shoe and clothing company for the rest of his career.

It comes at a price, though: He no longer will be earning more than $2 million guaranteed annually from the sneaker company, as he does under his current contract, but mid-six figures a year instead, sources said. He will, however, receive large bonuses for performance, particularly if he finally wins Wimbledon in his native England.

And the deal will have an unusual twist: Its term would be open-ended, continuing until Henman, 27, decides to retire.

"It's a lifetime deal," said Bill Ryan, Henman's agent with IMG. Most tennis players retire by their late 20s or early 30s.

Adidas declined to comment. The deal is expected to be completed soon but is still awaiting approvals from several senior Adidas executives.

The market for shoe and clothing deals for tennis players has been weak. For example, after also flirting with leaving Adidas, former U.S. Open champion Marat Safin also re-signed with the company in August for less than he was offered by the firm earlier in the year, when he turned the offer down.

Henman, who has worn Adidas for nearly a decade, considered leaving the company, sources said. Ellesse, which is making somewhat of a push back into tennis and is owned by a British holding company, approached the tennis star.

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