Yani Tseng is one of the finest golfers in the world, and she's at last starting to get the kind of commercial and sponsor notice that her talents warrant. However, she's also learning that even the most lucrative contracts can come with a heavy price.
Here's the deal. On Sunday, the China Times reported that China's Huabin Group has offered Tseng a five-year, $25 million contract. Sounds like a good idea, right?
Not so fast. First off, Tseng is a Taiwanese citizen, and would prefer to sign with a Taiwan-based organization. But at the moment, her father notes, no such firm has stepped up.
Moreover, while the Huabin offer is a lucrative one, it also has some significant holes. For instance, the contract does not cover Tseng's travel costs to play in LPGA tournaments, a major consideration. More importantly, Huabin is demanding that Tseng terminate all her other contracts with manufacturers of sportswear and apparel.
That's a pretty hefty expectation. I'll be honest, I'm not familiar enough with the minutiae of Chinese athletic sponsorship deals to say whether this is a good deal or not, but by American standards it certainly seems excessively restrictive. And if indeed this is the way that Chinese sponsors do business, they may well be surprised to see how Tseng fares on the open market. It's likely she won't snare a contract in the $25 million range elsewhere, but the freedom that non-Chinese contracts afford could be worth the tradeoff in income.
Tseng is one of the LPGA's fastest-rising stars, having won this year's Kraft Nabisco and currently leading the LPGA's money rankings. The sponsorship opportunities will be there, and they likely won't come with these same chains.
Outstanding golfer looks forward to Taiwanese sponsorship [Focus Taiwan]
(Visor tip: Darren Rovell)