SBJ/Aug. 12-18, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Stephens nets deals with AmEx and Listerine

Sloane Stephens has agreed to endorsement deals with American Express and with Johnson & Johnson brand Listerine, underscoring her emergence as possibly the next star of American tennis.

The two deals mark the 20-year-old’s first major off-court deals, and they soon could be joined by timepiece and cosmetics deals that her agents at Lagardère Unlimited are negotiating.

Sloane Stephens, at 20, is catching the attention of major sponsors.
Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
The agency recently re-signed with Stephens for several more years.

Each of the two new deals will pay Stephens around mid-six figures annually over at least three years, presuming she stays in the top 20 in the WTA rankings. As of last week, she was No. 17 worldwide.

Listerine will use Stephens as an ambassador for a program called HealthySmiles. The brand will donate $2 for related tweets using the hashtag #healthysmiles to a program to increase dental care for children in need. Stephens will use her own Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts over the next few weeks to push the program.

There also will be traditional advertising. TV spots will air during “Good Morning America” during the U.S. Open, which begins in two weeks. Stephens shot the Listerine spots on the set of “GMA,” though they are commercials and not part of the show.

With American Express, Stephens last year had an agreement with the credit card brand centered on the U.S. Open. Now, AmEx will activate around her globally, in a broader deal, said John Tobias, her agent at Lagardère.

Stephens, the daughter of late New England Patriots running back John Stephens, is not yet in the company of the top players in the game, whether on the court or at the bank, but she is gaining ground. She is one of only two players this year to make the final 16 at the first three Game Slam events of the year; world No. 1-ranked Serena Williams is the other.

If Stephens were to continue on her current trajectory, the timing would be propitious: Her apparel deal with Under Armour has another year to go, and renewal talks could get underway soon, and her contract with Head tennis rackets expires at the end of this year.

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