LONDON: Emma Raducanu’s (Photo) The astonishing triumph of the US Open could lead to a pot of gold worth around 20million pounds ($ 27.7million) over the next two years and it just might be just a start, according to sports marketing experts.
The 18-year-old Briton was almost unknown before reaching the fourth round at Wimbledon this year, having earned around $ 40,000 since her senior debut three years ago.
After becoming Britain’s first female Grand Slam champion for 44 years and the golden new daughter of women’s tennis, Raducanu’s earning potential is about to enter the stratosphere.
The $ 2.5 million she won in cash prizes for beating fellow teenager Leylah Fernandez in a final that captivated the sports world may soon appear to be cash.
Raducanu’s mixed Romanian-Chinese heritage, mind-blowing gameplay and engaging personality make her a “golden brand” according to a sports marketing expert.
She is already on the cover of the October edition of British Vogue and major global brands in everything from fashion to cars and jewelry will be lining up at the gates of IMG, her management company.
“There is no limit to what she can achieve on the pitch,” Tim Lopez, director of sports marketing firm CSM, told Reuters on Monday.
“She’s already in high demand, but to continue with continued success in major tennis tournaments, she will quickly become one of the most marketable athletes on the planet.”
With its global reach and equal exposure, tennis offers a path to wealth for top female players, with Japan’s Naomi Osaka winning $ 55 million, not counting prizes, last year, according to Forbes magazine.
Of the 10 highest paid sportswomen in the world, nine are tennis players.
Lopez says Raducanu, whose mother Renee is Chinese, shares the same marketing appeal as quadruple Grand Slam champion Osaka whose mother is Japanese and father is Haitian.
“If you use that as a yardstick not only because of their career trajectory, but also because of their common appeal and the fact that they are both engaging and come from mixed heritage,” he said.
“This is a huge advantage from a brand point of view, from an eye point of view, there is no bigger market to tap into.”
Raducanu’s rise from obscurity to his face glued to Times Square billboards will make sportswear brands compete for his signature. After Osaka won back-to-back Grand Slam titles in 2018 and 2019, Nike reportedly paid $ 10 million to distance them from rivals Adidas.
Raducanu’s appeal goes beyond the court, according to Conrad Wiacek, head of sports analysis at GlobalData.
“His victory goes beyond tennis and sport in terms of market value,” he told Reuters.
“One of the most impressive things for me was his Mandarin message to Chinese audiences, as the main problem Western sports stars have in breaking down China is the language barrier.
“The sky is the limit because any Western brand positioning itself in China would consider it an ambassador.”
Wiacek expects Raducanu’s sponsorship deal with Nike to be significantly increased and that other endorsements will net him around $ 10 million over the next two years.
“With her Chinese and Eastern European heritage as well as Great Britain, it puts her in a different stratosphere from other athletes,” he said. “I saw she was a potential billion dollar athlete. It is far.
“It’s based on consistency, but just over the next 12 months, I would say $ 5 million would be a realistic number. Ultimately, the barometer of his business success will depend on his success on the tennis court. “
Raducanu is represented by super-agent Max Eisenbud who helped make Russia’s Maria Sharapova the highest-paid female athlete after winning Wimbledon at the age of 18, with career off-court earnings of around 320 $.
However, the pitfalls of professional tennis are many with Osaka, another IMG athlete, struggling to cope with sudden fame and fortune.
Lopez says finding the right balance between on-pitch and off-pitch activities will be a key factor for Raducanu to reach his full potential.
“People have to give the girl a chance to consolidate what she’s done and not put too much pressure too soon,” he said.
“Focus on mental well-being, then athletic well-being and financial rewards will certainly follow.” – Reuters