The greatest tennis player of all-time is not ready to cede the spotlight to his younger rivals just yet. Roger Federer upset top-ranked Novak Djokovic in four sets in the Wimbledon semifinals on Friday. In Sunday's final, Federer will play Andy Murray. A Federer win Sunday would be a record tying seventh Wimbledon crown and elevate him to the No. 1 ranking in the world for the first time since June, 2010.
For all his brilliance on the court, Federer has been even more successful off the court. He made $45 million from endorsements, exhibitions and appearance fees over the last 12-months. Tiger Woods is the only athlete to earn more from sponsors over that time and Woods' endorsement income is clearly trending downward. Federer ranks fifth overall in our recent look at the world's highest-paid athletes.
Federer has the most impressive endorsement portfolio in sports, with nine sponsors that collectively pay him more than $30 million annually, including long-term deals with Nike, Rolex, Wilson and Credit Suisse. His Nike deal is the biggest in the sport worth $10 million annually. Mercedes-Benz traded its China-only pact with Federer for a long-term global deal starting last year. Gillette featured Federer, along with Woods and Thierry Henry, as part of its original "Champions" campaign. Gillette dropped Woods and Henry, but re-upped with Federer in 2010. Federer also commands more than $1 million per exhibition event. He is heading to South America at the end of the year for a series of very lucrative exhibitions.
Federer is a perfect pitchman for companies because of his long track record of success in the sport where he has won a record 16 Grand Slam titles. A win Sunday would elevate to the No. 1 ranking in the world for a record tying 286th week (Pete Sampras holds the current record). He appeared in a staggering 18 out of 19 Grand Slam finals between 2005 and 2010, including 10 straight at one point. Federer's track record makes Djokovic's recent run of six straight Slam finals seem quaint.
Tennis as a sport is also attractive to sponsors for several reasons. The demographics of its fans are strong thanks to high disposable incomes for tennis apparel, rackets, watches and cars. Another plus is the global nature of the sport, so Nike can utilize Federer in the Asia, Europe and U.S. Lastly, the tennis season is almost year-round, keeping Federer always in the spotlight.
Federer gets another chance to add to his legacy Sunday and sponsors once again have an opportunity to ride the Federer Express.
- Sports & Recreation
- Novak Djokovic