Tennis Star Inks ‘Lifetime’ Deal

NEW YORK Prince Sports said Monday that the company has signed a “lifetime endorsement” deal with Maria Sharapova. The contract follows the five-year deal that Sharapova signed with the company when she was 14.

Sharapova will continue to serve as a brand representative through marketing efforts that include advertising, signature product lines, junior tennis programs, global grassroots outreach and “grow-the-game initiatives,” Prince said in a statement.

Terms of the deal were not revealed, but were reported to be $25 million over the next 10 years, according to the Associated Press.

The deal would make Sharapova the world’s top-paid female athlete in terms of endorsement, with an estimated total of $20-25 million per year.

A new campaign from Nike broke last week in advance of the U.S. Open (Aug. 28-Sept. 11). She also has deals with Colgate-Palmolive, Tag Heuer, Motorola, Parlux, Sega and Land Rover. Max Eisenbud at IMG in Cleveland helps guide her marketing endeavors.

“Maria is an integral member of our team and we look forward to continuing to develop leading edge products and technologies that will support her goal to be the best player in the world,” George Napier, chairman and CEO at Prince Sports, Bordentown, N.J., said in a statement.

The Nike effort, via independent Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, Ore., debuted with a TV spot on Aug. 20, during the Teen Choice Awards on Fox. In the spot, the star is seen in one of her new Nike tennis outfits in her hotel room. As she heads to center court, she passes workers in the hotel, fans, players and members of the media, who all sing “I Feel Pretty” from West Side Story. Ultimately, the entire crowd in the tennis stadium is singing.

—Brandweek staff report