September 24, 2022

Roger Federer on Thursday retired as one of the best tennis players of all time. He won 20 Grand Slam titles, and was particularly prominent between 2003 and 2007, when he won 10 Majors five times, including at Wimbledon. His toughest rivals, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, recently outperformed Federer in the race for the Grand Slam title – with 22 and 21 respectively – but there is one area where Federer bests him: earnings.

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Federer earned over $1 billion during his career $130.6 million on court, and exempted more than $870 million from it. as Forbes explainsHe is one of only six athletes to have earned over $1 billion to date.

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“I am 41 years old, I have played over 1,500 matches in 24 years, and tennis has treated me more generously than ever before,” Federer said in his retirement announcement.

So why does Federer make more money than anyone else who has ever played tennis?

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His success off the court was naturally an extension of his skills at that. But marketing experts say it was about something else: It wasn’t that he was just a great player, it’s that he carried himself with a certain impact and dignity that made him more attractive to brands. Gave.

“Roger is forever a gentleman,” said Mike Fahey, who heads a Boston-based marketing firm and is a lifelong tennis – and Federer – fan. “He doesn’t throw tantrums. The ball doesn’t hit people. Doesn’t abuse the umpires. That’s the ultimate class act.”

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Clemson University sports marketing professor Angeline Close Sheinbaum endorses the idea. He said Federer scored high on all key marketing parameters – trustworthiness, expertise, credibility and attractiveness.

“He’s a sports marketer’s dream,” said Sheinbaum, who once met Federer and asked him to autograph his purse. “He signed it with a Sharpie and said, ‘I’m sorry to ruin your purse!’ I thought, “Either this is the dumbest guy in the sports world or he’s just hilarious and funny.”

During the past nearly two decades, more than a dozen brands have associated themselves with Federer who are from Switzerland, most notably Nike NKE,
-1.31%,
Rolex, Mercedes-Benz DMLRY,
+0.01%
and Wilson Sporting Goods.

He had a 20-year deal with Nike for shoes and clothing, which reportedly paid him $10 million annually.

Federer left that deal in 2018 and signed a $300 million, 10-year clothing deal with Uniqlo. Soon after, he also bought a 3% stake in the Swiss company On Running Oneon,
-2.79%,
The company went public after Federer’s investment.

About 10 years ago there was a turning point in his marketing mastery. “Federer took more control of his career off the court, leaving sports agency giant IMG in 2012 and launching TEAM8 with his longtime agent Tony Godsick. His earnings have skyrocketed since then,” as Kurt Badenhausen tells.

Another reason Federer has earned so much during his career? Their longevity is attracting marketers, says Rob Farinella, founder and CEO of Blue Sky Agency, an advertising agency that has worked extensively in the sports world.

“He is not only one of the best players in the sporting world, but his career has spanned generations,” Farinella said. “All of this has had a huge magnifying effect on him and his overall appeal and recognition.”

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One way Federer can continue to earn his support salary in retirement is as a very well-paid shoe and clothing designer. He helped design a performance tennis shoe for On called The Roger Pro. you can Read about how they developed it here,

And UNIQLO sent a statement to MarketWatch saying, “Roger is a UNIQLO Global Brand Ambassador and an ideal representative of our lifewear philosophy … Roger will continue to wear UNIQLO and help create apparel that supports human performance at the highest level.” Will provide expert professional insights to help us bring more comfort and functionality to the everyday lives of everyone everywhere.”