Google Down the Line!: THE LOW DOWN: Ana up for grabs - where will she land?

Monday, September 15, 2008

THE LOW DOWN: Ana up for grabs - where will she land?

Will Ana Ivanovic be jumping adidas' ship?

The sexy Serb, who is currently backed by the global sports brand in terms of sponsorship and coaching, is said to be on the search for a potential new home once her contract is up in 2009.

According to CNBC's Darren Rovell, DH Management, Ana's managing agent, is already starting to hear from various companies interested in the French Open champ but DH's interest is in a lifetime deal.

Rovell explains,

Lifetime deals in the industry are typically deals that run to what is projected to be the end of the athlete's playing career. In this case, it's believed that what's being shopped around to Ivanovic's next shoe and apparel suitor is a 10-year guarantee with the potential for Ivanovic to earn additional money in her post-career life as a brand spokesperson.

The goal, insiders say, is for Ivanovic to have the ability to earn $10 million in some years from this brand if she plays in most tournaments, becomes No. 1 in the world and consistently wins. If that happens, the contract could be the most lucrative endorsement in the history of women's sports.
Holy crap. Insiders are saying adidas is only willing to pony up $3.5 million a year on the lifetime deal with bonuses increasing it to $5.5 million - not quite the numbers DH Management is trying to wrangle for Ana which could hurt their chances.

Rovell speculates Nike might be interested in bringing Ana back into the stable (she was first with Nike) once newly crowned US Open champ Serena Williams' contract expires. She's on the back end of her career and hasn't been worked into any major ad campaigns recently suggesting the sports brand is ready to move on.

This news is truly exciting for Ana and the potential for the most lucrative sponsorship in women's sports is incredible but work needs to be done on her game if she's to max out on this type of contract. Her summer campaign was disastrous and showed major weaknesses including no B-game and a lack of real self-belief. Plus, if she leaves adidas she'll most likely have to part from her current coach, Sven Groenefeld, who works in the brand's development program and not for Ana privately.

The 20-year old is, however, a Grand Slam champion, has already hoisted the number one trophy, and is a marketer's dream. Plus, if she never has to wear another atrocious adidas number then we're all better off.

Stay tuned...

(image via Getty)


  1. Glad you picked up this story, Rich. I wonder how much Dani Hantuchova will play into this. I don't know how much they paid her but you have to think that her failure as a marketing prospect could impact how Nike sees AI. Of course the difference is that AI has that trophy and growing stable of legitimate sponsors (e.g., Rolex).

    Another thing this Tokyo Open is showing is how much pull AI has in Asia, given her deal with Yonex. Maybe that will play into it?

    I have a feeling that she will stick with Adidas though. They'll pony up more money and there's no way Sven would leave to go with her full-time. It really is a huge chip for them.

  2. C Note: It'll be interesting to watch the negotiations. It really depends on whether Nike feels a potentially $10 million per year for Ana is worth it. Right now, it's a bit cloudy. She obviously has great potential but can she sustain that kind of excellence over the long haul?

    I don't think Dani will have much impact since she falls in their second tier of ballers. They'll looking forward to when ReRe won't be around - who will have her marketing genius, popularity, and a game and personality that transcends the sport?

    To have Ana + Maria in the same stable would be quite the coup.

    adidas is missing the boat when it comes to tennis sponsorship really - they don't value it as much as Nike does in terms of marketing dollars. I mean just look at all the incredible events Nike did recently to hype the US Open. Where was adidas?

  3. adidas can do it in the design, but Nike has significantly better marketing. Nike's fashion recently has been better than ever before though.
    Stay to be the top gal (adidas) and work on the fashion or be one of many (Nike)? After looking at some of the off-court fashions, I'm not sure the players' input would prove better in design!

    I'm one for sticking with a good cut and getting some interest in the color/print - ruffles, organza and tennis just don't cut it for me.

  4. She really seems to be reaching for the moon with that money she's seeking. Maybe I'm missing something, but I can't see how Ana Ivanovic is going to benefit any shoe company she's dealing with. For example, I would say just in the U.S., her appeal's going to be minimal at best.

  5. ^i beg to disagree. you gotta blame adidas for that and her recent USO performance (damn that thumb injury!). she took australia, france, britain, canada and japan by storm. if you read rovell's complete report, 3 chinese brands are interested in her as well and china is a HUGE market. i'll give the girl another chance next year to "conquer" the US, i don't think it will be that hard for her.

  6. nike without serena? sad.

    personally, serena should jump back to puma. they had some ridiculous outfits together. :)

  7. Ivanovic doesn't deserve 10 million

  8. UM...I think Nike wouldnt dare dropping serena...they stayed with her through her slump, and now that they know that she is still a major threat in tennis, they'll mos def keep her....not to mention, sharapova is nikes main girl...I dont think there is room for ana...

  9. Serena is a jerk so she fits an American brand like Nike well.

  10. my gut feeling thinks Ana will stay with Adidas even if they offer less money than Nike. Sven is too essential for her game and Ana has always expressed being vey loyal.

  11. darren rovell is infatuated with ana so he's trying to downplay serena's appeal. i would be shocked if nike dropped serena. she is such a huge promoter of their brand plus she has tons more appeal than ana. ana defintiely doesn't deserve 10million a year!


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