Thanks to DtL reader Maja for sending me over this SportsBusiness Journal article about the state of the juggernaut that is "Sharapova Inc." (read: it's raining even more CASH.)
Check out a few of the very interesting tidbits from Daniel Kaplan's piece...
On her her most recent marketing campaigns:
Three of her sponsors — Tag Heuer, Cole Haan and Sony Ericsson — unveiled in recent weeks marketing campaigns around Sharapova, notwithstanding the decline in the luxury goods market. Sharapova also just signed a new, $2.5 million-a-year deal with a shampoo maker.
On her current deal with Nike and its effect on Serena Williams:
The company spends so much money around Sharapova, sources said, it’s one of the reasons why Serena Williams, currently the world’s top-ranked player and whom Sharapova upset to claim her landmark 2004 Wimbledon win, has not found a suitable renewal offer for her own deal with the sneaker power. Nike declined to make an official available for comment.
On how agent Max Eisenbud manages all of her commitments and her upcoming schedule:
Eisenbud copiously schedules each year down to the hour, parsing the 14 to 16 days Sharapova commits to her sponsors. For appearances at sponsor parties, he bestows each company a single hour annually with her before one of the four Grand Slams. Photo shoots are limited to Saturdays between 1 and 8 p.m. in the offseason, four days next week following the Sony Ericsson Open, two days after Wimbledon and one day after the U.S. Open.
Beginning April 6 in Los Angeles, Sharapova will cram in photo shoots for Nike, its subsidiary Cole Haan, Canon, the shampoo company (whose identity could not be determined) and the cover of ESPN The Magazine. She returns to her home in Florida after April 10 to resume training, and leaves April 30 to compete in Rome.On her popularity and reasons behind it:
Davie Brown, the Omnicom unit that ranks celebrities, places Sharapova’s popularity in the United States in line with “A-list Hollywood ‘It’ girls, including Keira Knightley and Rihanna,” according to a February study. That report does not track overseas, though, where Sharapova is arguably a far-greater celebrity.
To many, the reason for Sharapova’s popularity is obvious. Even her agent doesn’t discount that a good measure of her fame boils down to the fact that she is a pretty blonde from Russia’s Siberia.
But winning Grand Slam events and playing with a ferocious on-court style are also pluses, and U.S. residency allows her to straddle cultures. Her life story of emigrating impoverished to Florida at age 7 with her father, Yuri, gaining entry to the Bollettieri Tennis Academy at age 9, and winning Wimbledon eight years later is the fairy tale marketers clamor for.
On her upcoming projects including a possible animated series:
Still only 21, Sharapova now is branching into other endeavors. She will serve as the executive producer of a weekly drama series loosely based on her life that MTV has agreed to run. Eisenbud is also planning an animation series portraying her as a tennis player by day and a spy/superhero by night who uses the global tennis tour as a cover. Sharapova plans to do voice-overs for both series.
Okay there's TONS of nitty-gritty stuff here to dissect and still more in the article so take a moment to read it Shrieka (and non-Shrieka) fans. Here are the most intriguing points to me:
1. Is the 3-time Grand Slammer's deal really hurting ReRe's chances for a renewal contract with Nike? There had been murmurs Nike might be cutting the World No.1 loose last summer since she was getting towards the end of her career. But now that she's won two straight majors and moved back into the WTA Penthouse, I'd be surprised if they couldn't work something out. According to the article, however, ReRe is currently without a shoe or apparel contract which could mean she hasn't signed up for a renewal just yet. Stay tuned.
2. Sharapova Inc. is a well-oiled, well-managed machine that's continuing to rake in more cash even though she hasn't played singles since last August. I'm sure Eisenbud is making a good living doing this job (and seemingly well, I might add.)
3. The fact her popularity measured in February ranks with Keira Knightly + Rihanna blows my mind. Again - she's not even playing!!!
4. It all seems like a PR ploy to let marketers know the Russian's still a valuable prospect even though she's been injured.
4. An animated, super Shrieka??! HELL FRIGGIN' NO.
(images via mariasharapova.com)