In rare move, U.S. star Querrey gets liquor sponsor
Alcohol endorsements by athletes are rare, decried by public health groups as sending the wrong message and seen as an odd fit for people whose very careers are associated with healthy lifestyles. In fact, active athletes in the major professional North American sports leagues are prohibited from sponsoring alcoholic products. When tennis star Rafael Nadal endorsed Bacardi rum for a few years starting in 2011, he had to defend the choice publicly, even though his role was as their Social Responsibility Ambassador.
Now another tennis player, Sam Querrey, the highest ranked American male, is announcing this week his endorsement of vodka brand Carbonadi.
His agent, John Tobias of TLA Worldwide, said the context matters in understanding this deal.
“He is 30 years old, he is recently married,” Tobias said. “You need a mature adult to represent that brand, you don’t want a 22-year-old. We feel very comfortable with this because of the type of person Sam is and while he enjoys vodka, he will be very responsible with how he drinks it.”
Querrey sampled the vodka during his bachelor party on a Wheels Up jet this year and liked it. Tobias then contacted Ricky Miller, CEO of Carbonadi, and they struck a deal.
“By partnering with not only one of the best tennis players on the planet, but also one of the most down to earth and selfless human beings in the world, we are very excited to have Sam represent Carbonadi,” Miller said in a prepared statement.
Tobias declined to disclose terms. Patch deals like this for a player of Querrey’s caliber typically would be multiyear and for a few hundred thousand dollars annually, though there is likely a small premium because of the category.
Querrey will wear the Carbonadi logo on his tennis shirt sleeve (though only at ATP events, as the four Grand Slams and the Davis Cup do not allow players to advertise alcohol brands).
Roger Federer is believed to be the only other tennis player with an alcohol sponsorship. He endorses Moet & Chandon champagne but does not advertise the brand on his tennis wear.
The PGA Tour does not allow its golfers to advertise hard alcohol brands on their golf apparel, headgear or golf bags. The exception is if the brand has an apparel line.