U.S. Open champ Andreescu mulls sponsor offers
Bianca Andreescu, the 19-year-old Canadian who won the U.S. Open earlier this month, has plenty of offers from corporate sponsors and could have a limited number of new agreements in the near future.
“We expect to announce one or two new global partners soon,” said Jonathan Dasnieres de Veigy, her agent at Octagon. But he noted that every new partnership means a time commitment, so they are being very selective.
“We want her to focus on the game and on training and working out because we really believe she can be No. 1 in the world,” Dasnieres de Veigy said. “She can win many Grand Slams, so that is why the strategy is very long term.”
Prior to beating Serena Williams in the U.S. Open final, Andreescu’s sponsor list included BMW; Canadian media and communications giant Rogers Communications; Nike, for footwear and apparel; and Head, for rackets. It was her third tournament win this year and her first Grand Slam win.
It was also the first Grand Slam win by any Canadian ever, and a rally in her hometown of Mississauga in the Ontario province of Canada drew thousands of fans, as well as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Fans chanted “She the North,” a twist on the NBA champion Toronto Raptors’ “We the North” nickname.
Andreescu is “fresh and natural,” Dasnieres de Veigy said, and her authenticity is attractive to sponsors and fans. Her personality was on full display when she defeated Williams, and afterward said to the crowd, while standing next to the 23-time major champion, “I know you guys wanted Serena to win, so I am so sorry.”
Alastair Garland, Octagon vice president of tennis, was in Arthur Ashe Stadium, where most of the 23,000 fans were cheering for Williams, although Andreescu did have some Canadian backers there.
“It wasn’t easy circumstances for her,” Garland said. “She knows that Serena is a huge champion with so much history in the game, somebody who she no doubt looked up to, and there she is on the court facing her in the finals in the U.S. Open. It was a lot for her to take on, but as a 19-year-old, she demonstrated incredible poise.”
■ WASSERMAN PROMOTES LAWRENCE: Veteran NBA agent Greg Lawrence, who may be best known as agent to Golden State Warriors forward/guard Klay Thompson, has been promoted to executive vice president and managing executive. In his new role, Lawrence will run the agency’s basketball division alongside Thad Foucher, Darren Matsubara, and B.J. Armstrong.
“He earned it,” said Jason Ranne, Wasserman COO, and executive vice president of team sports. “Greg is a great example of someone rising through the ranks and understanding all sides of the business. He’s not only a skilled negotiator, but also does a terrific job managing his clients’ off-court brands and partnerships.”
Lawrence has had a lot of success recently, negotiating a five-year, $190 million extension with the Warriors for Thompson in July. Lawrence also negotiated a 10-year, reported $80 million shoe deal with Anta for Thompson in 2017.
This past summer, Lawrence negotiated a three-year, $29 million restricted free agency deal for former Memphis Grizzlies guard Delon Wright to join the Dallas Mavericks, and a two-year, $5.5 million deal for former G League guard Alex Caruso with the Los Angeles Lakers. Lawrence also negotiated a three-year, $4.8 million deal for guard Nigel Williams-Goss with the Utah Jazz, which originally drafted him in 2017, after playing in Europe.
Lawrence’s former title was executive vice president.
“With the other three senior agents we have, along with Jason Ranne, I think it will just be really being more involved in discussions and decisions,” Lawrence said of his promotion. “The day-to-day working with players, I don’t think anything is really going to change with that, but certainly it’s nice to be recognized by the company.”
Lawrence started his career working as an intern for Arn Tellem at the former SFX Sports in 2002 and joined Wasserman with Tellem in 2005. Tellem left Wasserman and the agent business to become vice chairman of Palace Sports & Entertainment in 2015.