Naomi Osaka has been taking the tennis world by storm since last year. After beating Serena Williams in the US Open Grand Slam, she became the 8th best female tennis player in the world going into the Australian Opens and has now made it to the quarter finals. But which businesses have made deals with the up-and-coming 21-year-old.
Who is Naomi Osaka?
Osaka has a rich heritage, being of Japanese and Haiti descent (Her mother is Japanese and her father is from Haiti) but having moved to the USA when she was 3 and growing up there. Undoubtedly, this will mean even more sponsorship deals being offered to her as she offers a link to different and larger demographics.
She has been raising up the ranks for the last few years. Having made it to the 3rd round in 2016 and 2017 in the US Opens to being the winner in 2018. As for the Australian Opens she went from the 3rd round to 2nd round in 2017 and ending in the 4th round last year.
The main news surrounding the Osaka name was the match that won her the US Open grand slam after beating the powerhouse that is Serena Williams. However, the papers were still not writing about her. Her name and new title were shadowed by Williams due to her argument with the Portuguese Empire. Serena smashed her racket and called the man a ‘liar’ and a ‘theif’, later being fined $17,000 for breaking violations.
Over the past 4 years Naomi Osaka was sponsored by Adidas, however, their contract ended at the end of 2018. With her growing status, it would have cost them a lot to have kept her on board. So let’s take a look at who her new sponsorship deals are with at the 2019 Australian Open Grand Slam.
Who made it onto the shirt?
Prime location for the main sponsors is on the sporting outfit worn by Naomi during the tournament. As you’ve probably seen from watching her play so far this year, she has three logos on the front of her shirt; Adidas, ANA and Nissin.
”“I am very excited to partner with ANA, my favourite airline, as I travel for many months throughout the year and ANA always delivers the best possible travel experience for me and my team. I look forward to working closely with the ANA team for many years to come.”
The Australian Opens will be the first event that Naomi will sport the Japanese airline’s logo on her shirt. This airline is the largest 5-star airline in Japan for the last 6 years and said in their press release that they only partner with people who share their core values of “dedication to excellence and a willingness to take on new challenges”.
Unfortunately, not much more has been released about their partnership, they have simply made it clear that they are proud to be supporting the first Japanese player to win at the US Open.
Naomi Osaka is truly sticking with her roots and proudly wearing the logo to a second Japanese brand; Nissin, an instant noodle manufacturer. According to reports, as part of their sponsorship deal, Nissin has naming rights over Naomi, however, these have recently been used poorly.
A recent advert has been released in Japan for the cup a noodle’s brand, where Naomi has been made into an anime character. In theory, this sounds like a great idea however to stick to the ‘traditional anime style’ Naomi has been whitewashed, making it hard to even realise who the character was based on. She has spoken on the issue yet, I imagine concentrating too much on her performance at the Australian Open.
Of course, all athletes are sponsored by a sports brand, with all the accessories included! For Naomi Osaka that brand is Adidas. This will be Adidas’ 5th year endorsing Osaka, even after their original 4-year contract came to an end.
To keep this rising star as a face for their brand, Adidas had to up the ante. They offered Osaka the highest amount paid to a female athlete at an estimated $8.5 million! After winning at the US Open, Adidas were fighting to keep their partnership going, and hoping that her win can be repeated at the Australian Open.
Osaka is a huge sign for Adidas who are constantly fighting against Nike for deals. Keeping her as their face allows them to target the Asian market more, and that’s without her tremendous skills on the court.
Who else has a deal with Naomi Osaka?
Just as important – or even more so – as the kit is the racket used by such a star. The one used on the court by Naomi is a Yonex. She has been described as having an aggressive, offensive tactic with a serve of 125mph. The company does offer a disclaimer with the rackets – “YONEX professional players may play with a customized racquet with different specifications than the model displayed.”, so it’s doubtful that this speed will happen to you this Saturday…
Another Japanese brand supporting her is Nissan, the car manufacturer. She is defined as a brand ambassador and will appear in their advertising and promotions. Even though the athlete doesn’t currently own her own car, Nissan will provide her with vehicles to her tour destinations.
Shiseido and Naomi have also signed a sponsorship deal. This partnership is in line with the beauty brands three-year statergy to expand to other markets whilst keeping a strong tie to the Asia Pacific and Japan. The 21-year-old tennis player will be a global ambassador, fronting Shiseido’s BareMinerals makeup and Anessa sunscreen lines.
This rising star has managed to stick to her roots, supporting brands that fit with her ethos and her home country, as well as bringing some brands to new market. With her win at the US Opens overshadowed by Serena Williams, I hope she can go far in the Australian opens to grab the attention and the headlines she deserves.