By Jason Barron
The USTA will honor Althea Gibson with a statue at the U.S. Open – the national USTA tennis center in Flushing, New York. Gibson is a true pioneer of the sport as she was one of the few athletes of color playing tennis during the 50’s and 60’s. She became the first black player to win a Grand Slam when she won the French Open in 1956. She also won Wimbledon and the US Open twice in 1957 and 1958. She retired in 1958 and was inducted to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1971. Besides being an accomplished singles player, Gibson also won 5 Grand Slam doubles titles. Players past and present have paid their respects to this pioneer so it is fitting to honor this legend with a statue.
Besides being an accomplished tennis player, Gibson had many other talents. Upon her retirement from professional tennis she released an album, was in a film, did sports commentary, and played professional golf. She wasn’t treated equally on the pro golf tour and retired from golf in 1978. Former New York City Mayor, David Dinkins stated that Gibson “was an inspiration, because of what she was able to do at a time when it was enormously difficult to play tennis at all if you were black.” Venus Williams stated that “I am honored to have followed in such great footsteps, her accomplishments set the stage for my success, and through players like myself and Serena and many others to come, her legacy will live on.”
I think it is important for the current generation to remember those who came before because the past paves the way for the future. Alan Schwartz stated that, “When she began playing, less than five percent of tennis newcomers were minorities. Today, some 30 percent are minorities, two-thirds of whom are African American. This is her legacy.” In a statement, USTA President Katrina Adams calls Gibson, who also won the 1956 French Open, the “Jackie Robinson of tennis.” King says the 11-time Grand Slam winner is “an American treasure” who “opened the doors for future generations.” For a woman who accomplished so much and had the courage to compete at the highest level of her sport she remained humble and grateful, and upon her retirement in 1958 she said, “I hope that I have accomplished just one thing, that I have been a credit to tennis, and to my country.” Althea Gibson certainly did that and inspired generations to come to play tennis and push societal boundaries to strive for a better tomorrow.
Osaka seeks #10 in 2019
By Editorial Team
Naomi Osaka is seeking #10 in 2019… This is not a ranking goal as she has climbed that ladder to the top spot after winning the Australian Open, but rather a business goal.
With nine major corporate sponsors in the bag as of today, Naomi does not appear to have easily balanced her off-court business success. She only has one semifinal finish at Stuttgart since the AO where she retired due to injury against Anett Kontaveit.
The clay court season has not been friendly to Naomi, but she plans on raising her level on grass courts at the Birmingham Classic this week heading into Wimbledon. The draws for the world number one have not been easy either; she faces Maria Sakkari in the first round.
In addition to winning matches, Naomi must manage her branding potential by maintaining a good image and growing her global market presence.
If there is space on her sleeveless shirt or racket bag Stuart Duguid of IMG is sure to find room and solicit a killer deal. Stuart has been the marketing genius behind the recent surge in Naomi’s branding power.
The endorsement list for Naomi is both staggering and impressive. It’ll definitely require a skilled team to track the many contract renewals and re-negotiations.
Yonex – January 2016
Wowow – June 2016
Nissin Group – December 2016
Citizen – August 2018
Nissan – September 2018
Shiseido – November 2018
All Nippon Airways (ANA) – January 2019
MasterCard – April 2019
Nike – April 2019
#10 = BareMinerals ** Updated on 06/20/2019
Naomi not only has a new team on the court led by Jermaine Jenkins, but also a strong off-court presence that is fully equipped to handle even more sponsors waiting the wings for her next major title win. These hefty sponsorship dollars are in addition to the $11.3 million in career prize money that she has accumulated to date.
Her 10th endorsement deal may come well before her next title as momentum is gaining within the Japanese business markets. Being able to tap into both American and Japanese cultures, Naomi’s team can capture a very diverse mix of companies willing to spend big dollars for the 21 year old’s endorsement.
All bases seem to be covered within her well assembled sponsorship portfolio, however there is still room for more American based companies ranging from gaming software to investment banking. The 10th bag will drop for sure if she is able to repeat her US Open title this year, but expect more companies to step up to the plate in anticipation of Naomi becoming a household name like “Serena” or “Venus.”
Osaka grows branding empire
By Editorial Team
Naomi Osaka’s branding junket continues as she secures major Japanese endorsement deals spanning from automotive to skin care. The US Open title win has unlocked multiple opportunities keeping agents and lawyers busy well into the holiday season. Naomi has secured standard on-court sponsorship from Adidas and Yonex, but with her Asian background she is able to tap into a huge consumer market filled with big pockets willing to make her the face of many products.
Her existing off-court deals with Nissan (car manufacturer), Nissin Food Groups, Citizen (luxury watch brand) and Wowow (Japanese cable broadcaster) were recently topped this month by Japanese personal care company – Shiseido. Shiseido made Naomi their brand ambassador for an undisclosed amount over the next three years.
“Shiseido never stops innovating and changing to best support the lives of consumers worldwide through beauty. With our ever-stronger foundations and upgraded global structure, such as Osaka, we are always striving to improve ourselves. We are never satisfied, always challenging the status quo. As Osaka gives her best, we too are taking on various new initiatives, challenging the world and reaching for new heights,” the brand said in a release.
Earlier in March 2018, Shiseido launched a new three-year plan that will see the company implementing new strategies to accelerate growth and be among the top three companies in the global prestige cosmetics market, while maintaining its presence in Asia Pacific and Japan. The three year-plan is the second phase of its six-year medium-to-long term strategy titled “VISION 2020” developed in 2014.
It can be expected that more global brands within the US could make investments in Naomi’s international appeal, but she must continue her rise to the top by wining more titles and keeping the spotlight on her tennis talent.
Donald Young launches watch brand ahead of US Open
By Editorial Team
Wristwear endorsements are not uncommon within the sport of tennis as evident by some of the top players on tour including Roger Federer, Stan Wawrinka and Chris Evert sporting everything from Audemars Piguet to Rolex. Over the last few days Donald Young has put his name on a new brand called Uncle Jack. Donald’s sports watch with red band is set to launch at the this year’s US Open.
Donald has missed several main draw appearances due to a major losing streak in the first half of the year, but all was not lost as he made a comeback with some great wins recently in his homestead of Atlanta where he defeated the giant, Ivo Karlovic, for the second consecutive time 2-6, 7-6, 7-6. Immediately following the BB&T event, he was able to qualify for the maindraw of the Citi Open in DC and secure one of the biggest wins of his career against former world number 2, Stan Wawrinka.
Maybe the tides are turning for the 238 ranked tennis star as he now promotes new Uncle Jack watches named after him in collaboration. Uncle Jack watches are not of the same caliber as a Rolex, but they are made in Australia and are supposedly worn by top athletes and global taste masters according to their website.
Neither Donald or Brandon Ellis (Uncle Jack co-founder) were available for comment leading up to the launch, but several fellow ATP Tour players have already put in their requests for the limited 100 count edition DY Watch.
Catch Donald and his new watch in New York next week as he competes in US Open qualifying in anticipation of making an appearance in the main draw.
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