Gatorade Signs Teenage U.S. Tennis Star Amanda Anisimova
U.S. tennis player Amanda Anisimova has signed a new sponsorship with Gatorade, making it the latest blue-chip brand to partner with the 18-year-old currently ranked No. 24 in the world. Anisimova, who lost in the first round of the Australian Open earlier this week, signed a long-term deal with Nike last fall as companies look to the next generation of tennis players with stars like Serena and Venus Williams and Maria Sharapova poised to leave the sport in the coming years. Details of the Gatorade deal were not disclosed; Gatorade's sports marketing team manages partner negotiations internally. Gatorade Global Head of Sports Marketing Jeff Kearney said the brand's interest in signing Anisimova began over a year ago. During that time, Anisimova reached the semifinals of the French Open and won her first WTA event -- the Copa Colsanitas in Colombia. Kearney said Gatorade has a checklist when assessing whether to pursue a partnership with an athlete: Is the athlete championship caliber? Are they aspirational? Do they care about sports nutrition? Kearney said Anisimova checked most of the boxes. "She has a fantastic team around her, from her mom to her coaches. They're seeking added-value partners that will help her reach her ultimate goal, and they view us that way," he said. Gatorade, which also counts Serena Williams as an endorser, was impressed by Anisimova's professionalism, including a focus on nutrition and taking care of her body made clear by her eagerness to visit the Gatorade Sports Science Institute satellite lab at IMG in South Florida.
NEW WAY TO ANNOUNCE DEALS: Anisimova subtly revealed the new partnership last week in a social media post. That continues a new way of announcing deals for Gatorade, which allowed Pelicans F Zion Williamson and Devils C Jack Hughes to make similar reveals. Kearney said, "We allowed her to unveil it to the world. If there is a difference between signing a new athlete today compared to 10 years ago, it's all these social media platforms." With the formal relationship so new, neither side has any concrete plans for how the partnership will take shape. Anisimova's social media accounts will undoubtedly continue to play a huge role, but she has at least one other idea. "I think a Gatorade commercial would be really inspiring," she said. "That would be really cool."