The advent of Coronavirus in 2020 affected the world in previously unthought ways, and the world of sports was not left behind. The pandemic shook the world of sports and affected a lot of things, but the authorities found creative ways to ensure that teeming fans enjoyed their favourite sports from the comfort of their homes as the world tries to return to normalcy.
2021 has seen more sports stars attract more sponsorships as brands look to leverage on their popularity to reach and target even more fans, as sports tries to return to full-scale. There have been endorsement deals that have shocked the world of sports, as relevant stakeholders try to strike a balance between brands trying to recover from losses accrued due to Covid, and trying to make profits in a rapidly-emerging post-Covid era.
19-year-old British sensation, Emma Raducanu stunned the world when she won the US Open, becoming the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam in the Open Era. Overnight, she became the most recognizable name in women’s tennis.
She has become a celebrity almost in an instant and has earned a raft of endorsements, most notably Tiffany Jewelries and Co, Dior, and Nike. She has also signed endorsements with Brtish Airways as well as Evian, a water company.
It is believed that Raducanu has earned around $6.5m in endorsements alone this year.
Basketball star, LeBron James shocked the entire sporting world back in January when he announced his partnership with PepsiCo. The LA Lakers star had been associated with Coca-Cola for about 17 years before ending his partnership back in September 2020.
The multi-year endorsement deal will see James, often regarded as one of the greatest in the history of the sport, be the face of the launch of the new Mtn Dew Rise Energy Drink, and look to expand his work off the court. PepsiCo in recent years has vowed to increase black representation at the company and committed around $400 million over five years to support black businesses and communities, a cause that James is passionate about, in his personal capacity.
The details of the deal have not been revealed, but it is believed to be quite substantial, continuing James’ reputation as one of the most marketable athletes in the world, as Forbes reported that he earned around $60 million in endorsements in 2020 alone.
Multiple and Olympic medallist, Simone Biles left Nike earlier this year after six years to sign with Gap Inc. The most decorated gymnast ever signed a deal with the apparel company’s athletic unit and will release a signature line of performance apparel under the agreement.
Speaking after the endorsement deal, Biles told the Wall Street Journal that, “I felt like it wasn’t just about my achievements, it’s what I stood for and how they were going to help me use my voice and also be a voice for females and kids. I feel like they also support me, not just as an athlete, but just as an individual outside of the gym and the change that I want to create, which is so refreshing”.
The details of the deal have not been shared, but Biles is one of the most marketable athletes in the world, raking in an estimated $5m in endorsements, according to Forbes.
Biles, 24, has won a combined total of 32 medals in both the Olympics and World Championships, making her one of the most decorated athletes of all time.