SBJ/May 20-26, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Few gambling logos show up on ATP players

The ATP World Tour at the start of this year authorized players, for the first time, to wear gambling logos on their apparel, an apparent concession to agents who had clamored for more opportunities to commercialize their clients’ success.

More than four months later, no player among the top 150 singles or top 20 doubles competitors is wearing such a logo, according to a study the ATP conducted of the changes its new rules had effected.

A restriction the ATP added to the change, that the gambling company could not take tennis bets, appears to be a big inhibitor.

“The fact that companies who allow betting on tennis are not allowed to have an association with players is probably the biggest deterrent for these deals,” said John Tobias, head of tennis at Lagardère Unlimited. “Players are effective at reaching the tennis [audience] but struggle to have much impact outside this [audience] unless they are at a top-10 ranking level. I’m guessing these betting companies could not afford the cost of a top 10-level player.”

Rafael Nadal does have a deal with online group PokerStars and takes part in their contests. He does not, however, wear the company’s logo, likely because of his deal with Nike. Most Nike contracts prohibit selling space on the company’s apparel.

Other changes the ATP instituted have brought success. Four players, the study found, have sold space on their hats that once was off limits, and 11 have sold space on the front of their shirts. Before this year, only a logo for a player’s apparel or racket company could appear on headwear. A player could sell space on his clothes to only two companies — apart from a logo presence for his apparel company — and those nonmanufacturer logos could appear only on sleeves.

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