All Tennis, All the Time
Tennis world number one Naomi Osaka has agreed a deal with sportswear giant Nike.
Osaka has been on an incredible run of form in the past year, which has seen her win her first and second Grand Slam titles back-to-back at last year’s U.S. Open and more recently at the Australian Open in January.
The Japanese star, who had previously been tied to rival Adidas, will first wear Nike gear at the Stuttgart Grand Prix, which begins on April 22.
“I’m proud to become a member of the Nike family and excited about getting involved in all of the opportunities Nike has to offer,” said Osaka in the statement on Nike’s website.
“Nike has a legendary track record of writing history and I look forward to being a part of those moments for many years to come.” the 21-year-old went on to say.
When she overcame Serena Williams in the U.S. Open final at Flushing Meadow in September, Osaka became the first Japanese player to win one of the four major tennis titles. She then backed that victory up by winning the first Grand Slam of 2019 as well, defeating Petra Kvitova in Melbourne.
“Naomi is an incredible talent to add to our roster and help drive our commitment to inspiring a new generation of female athletes,” Nike Vice President Amy Montagne added in the statement.
“We are thrilled to have her join our team.”
In 2018, Osaka topped the money list on the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) tour, collecting $6.4 million in winnings and has since broken through the $10 million mark. By contrast Serena Williams only made $342,246 in 2018 following her return after having her first child. However, Williams is still way out in front on the all-time female tennis earnings list with more than $88 million in prize money.
Osaka’s ascent to the top of the women’s game has made her a hot marketable commodity for the world’s top brands, with some estimates that she stands to make more than $15 million in endorsements alone this year.
She already has deals with Japanese airline All Nippon Airways, car manufacturer Nissan and watch company Citizen, among others.
What happened to this Adidas deal from just last year?
Tennis Champion Naomi Osaka’s $8.5M Adidas Deal Biggest Ever for a Woman
But it is still less than Adidas' biggest deals with men.
By Karen Doyle September 15, 2018 Find a Company
Fresh off her stunning U.S. Open win, 20-year-old tennis phenom Naomi Osaka is reportedly about to sign an $8.5 million endorsement contract with Adidas, according to SB Nation. Her current contract with the athletic manufacturer expires at the end of this year. The deal is the richest ever offered to a female athlete by Adidas.
Osaka’s deal, although noteworthy, pales in comparison with other contracts major companies have made with some of her competitors, and with those Adidas has made with male athletes.
Soccer star David Beckham has a lifetime contract with Adidas worth $160 million. The company still uses Beckham in its ads even though he retired from professional soccer in 2013.
Tennis player Roger Federer is the seventh highest-paid athlete in the world, according to Forbes, with 2018 winnings of $12.2 million and endorsements totaling $65 million.
Serena Williams, who Osaka defeated in spectacular and controversial fashion at the Open, has a $40 million contract with Nike as well as numerous other endorsement deals. Williams brought in a total of $18.1 million, including winnings and deals with more than a dozen sponsors in 2018, according to Forbes.
The final match of this year’s Open garnered considerable attention when Williams was penalized one game for calling an umpire a “thief” after he docked her a point for receiving coaching. She was also fined $4,000 for that violation, as well as $3,000 for racket abuse and $10,000 for verbal abuse. The altercation has led to a wider discussion about sexism in the sport.
Tennis has worldwide appeal among both genders, making it a desirable sport for sponsors. And Osaka, who is half Haitian and half Japanese, and who plays under the flag of Japan, gives Adidas extra sway in the important Asian market.
Wow - the OP article states:
"By contrast Serena Williams only made $342,246 in 2018 following her return after having her first child."
Ummm - you don't make the finals of two slams and make less than $350,000. ESPN puts Serena's earnings in 2018 at $3,770,170, more than 10x what's quoted in the article.
Incompetent. Fire the writer.
go firmly to the window
and listen with deep emotion,
but not with the whining, the pleas of the coward;
listen-your final pleasure-to the voices,
to the exquisite music of that strange procession