Roger Federer is a 20-time grand slam winner, six of those being at the Australian Open, including the last two years, making him the reigning champion. But this year the unthinkable happened, Federer’s time at the 2019 Australia Open got cut short by Stefanos Tsitsipas, an up-and-coming Greek tennis player who has yet struggled to make it this far in any Grand Slam.
Even though the reigning champion is no longer a part of the Australian Open, he is loved by many and still has strong ties with his sponsors. At the age of 37, many people believed that Roger Federer was on his way out, with 8 out of 10 tennis players being under 30. In theory, this would put a strain on the relationship Federer had with his sponsors. However, this world-class player has been able to secure massive names with incredibly high endorsement fees making him one of the world’s highest paid sportsman. This is in part due to his incredible career, holding a number of records including the most weeks in the No.1 position at 302 weeks!
Federer’s Biggest Deal to Date
Everyone is accustomed to seeing Federer sporting the Nike Swoosh as their partnership lasted for a total of 21 years, however, in 2018 Roger divorced from his long term partner to join forces with the Japanese brand, Uniqlo. This sports brand is trying to build a representation with western markets, especially to the run-up to the Tokyo Olympics. Therefore they were willing to pay Federer an astounding $300 million over the course of ten years. This contract is especially special as it involves an unprecedented clause that will allow Federer to keep collecting the cash even if he doesn’t play through the end of the deal.
Another bonus for Roger Federer given to him from the athletic brand, Uniqlo is allowing him to sell off space on his kit to other brands. This was something that Nike had always forbidden, taking the spotlight for themselves.
However, there is one downside to this deal. The famous sight of the Nike Swoosh alongside the, even more, adored embroidered, golden RF initials. With the new sponsorship deal, Nike holds on to the rights to the golden letters. And Federer hasn’t completely abandoned the brand, keeping his Nike shoes as part of his ensemble.
This $300 million deal has seen Federer rise in the ranks of the highest paid sportsman. The Swiss player is ranked in 7th place in 2018, after names such as Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, LeBron James and Conor McGregor!
Who else sponsors Federer?
“Barilla pasta and sauces provide the energy that I need to succeed on the tennis court and enjoy my family’s favourite activities. Pasta has been part of my daily diet for so many years that this partnership is a natural. I am excited to be joining forces with Barilla. They are the best in the business,” said Roger Federer.
The largest pasta and sauce corporation in the world has held the exact amount of their partnership deal under wraps, however, sources from the industry have shared that it is as much as $40 million. The ‘Master of Pasta’ put Federer to the test by filming him with chef Oldani for a cooking lesson. This is part of their agreement, placing Roger in the middle of the ad campaigns and become the face of the brand.
Known for its beautiful timepieces, Rolex has been partnered with Federer since 2006 and recently extended their contract that has no end date, potentially meaning that Federer will become a lifelong ‘testimonee’ (their term for ambassador).
Roger Federer was brought up in a town called Basel, Switzerland, which hosts the biggest watch and jewellery trade show in the world. This could be what sparked the tennis players interest in the accessory and is one of the reasons he makes the perfect brand ambassador for Rolex.
In 2006, at the beginning of his career, their endorsement deal was set at $10 million a year. This increased to $15 million in 2012 after his win at Wimbledon. This price has gone down since 2017, at $8 million a year which considering his age in the sport and with new great players on the rise is still a huge amount of money.
The German car company originally partnered with Federer in 2008 for a 3-year partnership with a focus in China. They then extended this contract for an extra 3 years for a global marketing. After this success, they extended the contract again in 2014 for another 3 years. This pattern has continued with the newest extension equally $5 million a year to the tennis star.
Mercedes has deep links with tennis as it also is the main sponsors for the US Open and said on its partnership with Federer, “Roger Federer is an outstanding athlete who has shaped tennis for decades and stands for top performance. As a successful top athlete, he ideally represents our brand as we are united by the demand for perfection and the will to succeed.”
Of course, a main part of any tennis players kit is their racket. Roger Federer worked closely with Wilson to design the perfect racket for him, as well as having it available to buy by the public. This racket is called the Wilson Pro Staff Roger Federer Autograph 97 (RF97A), and although there are some theories that the grand slam winner doesn’t use the same racket on the court, however, it is promised by them that they only difference to occur is the stiffness rating of the strings, as he is able to produce much more power with his swing.
This partnership has lasted for decades and Wilson even released a limited edition racket to celebrate Federer breaking the record for most Men’s Singles Grand Slam wins. To commemorate his 20th Grand Slam title, Wilson released only 20 Grand Slam Platinum Edition Racket Package. The package comes with the special racket with subtle signs of his previous wins, a signed Australian Open Wilson tennis ball, a series of mini-posters documenting Federer’s 20 Grand Slams titles, a photo of Roger Federer holding the commemorative racket, a premium box for it to be displayed in, and the certificate of authenticity. These 20 packages were sold at $20,000, 100% of profits from 10 of the packages went to the Federer Foundations with 50% of the rest going to Wilson’s philanthropic efforts to grow and build the game of tennis.
These are just a few of his sponsors, with others including Lindt, Moët & Chandon, Credit Suisse, Net Jet, Jura, Sunrise Communications and Rimowa. Roger Federer has proved to be a faithful brand ambassador to corporations for decades, with the sense that these are all companies that are close to his heart. For the sponsors he is certainly a great person to have on board, having broken tennis records and staying at the top of his game with very little bad press. Tennis is also a great way for companies to be seen all over the world, with global tours and audiences. Federer may be out of the Australian Open this year but somehow we can’t see him moving out of the spotlight anytime soon, whether on the court or in advertisements.