Emma Raducanu’s astonishing U.S. Open triumph could lead to a pot of gold worth around £20-million (US$27.7-million) over the next two years and that may be just the start, according to sports-marketing experts.
The 18-year-old Briton was almost unheard of before reaching the fourth round at this year’s Wimbledon, having earned around US$40,000 since her senior debut three years ago.
After becoming Britain’s first female Grand Slam champion for 44 years and the new golden girl of women’s tennis, Raducanu’s earning potential is set to enter the stratosphere.
The US$2.5-million she picked up in prize money for beating fellow teenager Leylah Fernandez in a final that captivated the sporting world may soon seem like loose change.
Raducanu’s mixed Romanian-Chinese heritage, a stunning game and engaging personality make her “brand gold” according to one sports-marketing expert.
She is already a cover girl for British Vogue’s October edition and major global brands in everything from fashion to cars and jewellery will be queuing at the doors of IMG, her management company.
“There is no limit in what she can achieve on the court,” Tim Lopez, director at sports-marketing firm CSM, said on Monday.
“She’s hugely in demand already but to follow that up with continued success in the majors in tennis will see her rapidly become one of the most marketable athletes on the planet.”
With its global reach and equal exposure, tennis offers a road to riches for top female players with Japan’s Naomi Osaka earning US$55-million, not including prize money, in the past year, according to Forbes magazine.
Of the world’s 10 highest-paid sportswomen, nine are tennis players.
Lopez says Raducanu, whose mother Renee is Chinese, shares the same marketing appeal as four-times Grand Slam champion Osaka whose mother is Japanese and father is Haitian.
“If you use that as a yardstick not just because of their career trajectory but also their shared appeal and that they are both engaging and from mixed heritage backgrounds,” he said.
“That’s a huge benefit from a brand perspective, from an eyeballs point of view there is no bigger market to tap into.”
Raducanu’s rise from obscurity to having her face plastered on Times Square billboards will have the sports clothing brands vying for her signature. After Osaka won back-to-back Grand Slam titles in 2018 and 2019, Nike reportedly paid US$10-million to take her from rivals Adidas.
Raducanu’s appeal goes beyond the court, according to Conrad Wiacek, head of sport analysis at GlobalData.
“Her victory takes her way beyond tennis and sport in terms of marketability,” he said.
“One of the most impressive things for me was her message in Mandarin for the Chinese audience because the major issue western sports stars have in breaking China is the language barrier.
“The sky is the limit as any western brand positioning itself in China would be looking at her as an ambassador.”
Wiacek expects Raducanu’s Nike sponsorship deal to be raised significantly and other endorsements will earn her about US$10-million over the next two years.
“With her Chinese and eastern Europe heritage as well as Britain, that puts her in a different stratosphere to other athletes,” he said. “I’ve seen it being thrown around that she’s a potential billion dollar athlete. That’s a long way away.
“That’s based on consistency but just on the next 12 months I would say [US]$5-million would be a realistic number. Ultimately the barometer for how commercially successful she will be will depend on how successful she is on the tennis court.”
Raducanu is represented by superagent Max Eisenbud, who helped turn Russian Maria Sharapova into the highest-earning female athlete after she won Wimbledon aged 18, with off-court career earnings of around US$320-million.
However, the pitfalls in professional tennis are numerous with Osaka, another IMG athlete, struggling to cope with the sudden fame and fortune.
Lopez says striking the right balance between on-court and off-court activities will be a key factor in Raducanu achieving her full potential.
“People need to give the girl a chance to consolidate what she’s done and not to heap too much pressure on too soon,” he said.
“Focus on the mental well-being, then the sporting wellbeing and the financial rewards will certainly follow.”
2020 Ryder Cup pairings: U.S. runs it back, Rory McIlroy out for Saturday foursomes – Golf Channel
After his team dug itself a 6-2 hole on Friday at the Ryder Cup, European captain Padraig Harrington had some decisions to make when deciding on his pairings for Saturday morning’s foursomes session.
One pressing question was whether he’d sit Rory McIlroy for the first time in McIlroy’s cup career. McIlroy had played in every session since making his debut in 2010 (26 for 26), but he’d dropped both his team-play matches on Friday at Whistling Straits while failing to reach the 16th hole in either one.
Ultimately, Harrington decided that his visiting side’s best chance at a comeback was to sit McIlroy on Saturday morning.
“We have plenty of options on our team,” Harrington said. “Spoiled for choice in many ways, and yeah … I’m very comfortable again with the team I’ve put out tomorrow. Wait and see in each of those matches whether they can create their own momentum and then bring that to the team.”
McIlroy and Poulter, who lost in foursomes on Friday morning, will both be benched, while Harrington will mix things up slightly elsewhere, splitting Paul Casey and Viktor Hovland, and pairing them with Tyrrell Hatton and Bernd Wiesberger, respectively. Two of Europe’s foursomes pairings are intact: Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia, and Lee Westwood and Matt Fitzpatrick.
Meanwhile, on the American side, captain Steve Stricker is going back to the well, keeping all four of his previous foursomes teams. All but Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth won on Friday morning, though Thomas helped lead a four-ball rally alongside Patrick Cantlay on Friday afternoon as the U.S. duo tied Hovland and Tommy Fleetwood.
Cantlay reunites with Xander Schauffele, who is 2-0. Dustin Johnson, also 2-0, reunites with Collin Morikawa.
“We had one other group that we were thinking about putting out, but it went so well this morning that I figured why mess things up and change things up at all,” Stricker said. “We changed the order a little bit is all, but we kept the same pairings.”
The U.S. leads by four points, its largest advantage after Day 1 since 1975. History is on the Americans’ side, too, as just once in five previous instances since 1979 (the year that the Great Britain and Ireland side was expanded to include continental Europe) has a team coughed up a lead of more than three points after the opening day.
Here are the matchups and starting times for Saturday morning’s foursomes session:
8:05 a.m. ET: Koepka/Berger vs. Rahm/Garcia
8:21 a.m.: Johnson/Morikawa vs. Casey/Hatton
8:37 a.m.: Thomas/Spieth vs. Hovland/Wiesberger
8:53 a.m.: Schauffele/Cantlay vs. Westwood/Fitzpatrick
Lululemon named official Canadian outfitter for next four Olympics | Offside – Daily Hive
Lululemon will be officially heading to the Olympics.
The Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Committees announced Thursday a partnership with the Canadian clothing brand Lululemon, making it the country’s official outfitter of Team Canada for the next four Olympics.
“As a Canadian and lifelong fan of the Games, I could not be prouder for Lululemon to partner with the Canadian Olympic Committee and Canadian Paralympic Committee,” said Calvin McDonald, the CEO of Lululemon in a release. “Supporting these incredible athletes as they prepare to compete on the world’s largest sporting stage is a privilege. Through this partnership, all of us at Lululemon are honoured to play our part to inspire, unite and transform the world through sport and share in this excitement alongside all of Canada.”
A small selection of Lululemon Olympic apparel is available online and in-store already, with more to be revealed next month.
The partnership will start at the Beijing 2022 Games, continuing through 2024 in Paris, 2026 in Milan, and 2028 in Los Angeles.
This replaces the Hudson’s Bay partnership that first began in Torino 2006 and expired after Tokyo 2020.
While it’s Lululemon’s first official Olympic partnership, they actually launched a collection that appeared to be heavily inspired by Vancouver 2010.
— Zarah Al-Kudcy (@zalkudcy) July 28, 2016
San Jose Sharks open training camp without Evander Kane amid NHL investigation – ESPN
The Sharks took the ice for the first time this season Thursday, a day after Kane was cleared by the NHL of gambling allegations. But with the league still looking into allegations of physical and sexual abuse made by his estranged wife, Kane and the Sharks decided he will not take part in practice until further notice.
“It’s not ideal, but there is an ongoing investigation from the NHL,” general manager Doug Wilson said. “The focus has to be on our group here, the guys that are here today and the things that we can control, but also respect the process of dealing with some very serious allegations and some things that need to be addressed with the right process.”
The Kane saga has been hanging over the Sharks for weeks after Anna Kane alleged in an Instagram post this summer that Kane bet on NHL games and was “obviously throwing games to win money.”
That launched a probe by the league, and the NHL said Wednesday there was no evidence to back up those charges and that the investigation “raises doubts about the veracity of the allegations.”
But Anna Kane also made additional allegations this week of sexual and physical abuse in a restraining order application filed in Santa Clara County Family Court.
Kane’s attorney denied those charges, but the team said it came to an agreement with Kane that he won’t participate in camp until further notice while the league looks into the allegations.
None of the players made available to the media would comment on the specifics.
“No one knew about anything and no one still knows about anything,” defenseman Erik Karlsson said. “We’re here to focus on the things that we can control and everything other than that is out of our hands.”
There was also a report this offseason from The Athletic that there was a rift between Kane and his teammates, many of whom don’t want him back on the team.
Kane’s teammates said any issues would be dealt with privately in the dressing room and they were happy with the mindset of the group that was on hand for the start of camp.
“I thought today was a real good day,” captain Logan Couture said. “When you get to the rink, you show up, you play hockey, you work hard. You play for the guy next to you. Everyone that’s here is proud to be a San Jose Shark and we want to win for this organization.”
Kane’s absence will be felt on the ice as he was the team’s most consistent forward last season, when he led the Sharks with 22 goals and 49 points.
If Kane can’t play, San Jose will have a hard time reversing the dramatic fall the team has taken the past two seasons after making it to the Western Conference finals in 2019.
“We all just play,” defenseman Brent Burns said. “It’s no different than anything else. At the end of the day, we just make coffee in the morning, come to the rink, get ready to play and you do it. I don’t think it’s any different than guys getting hurt, not being there for lineup. We don’t worry about that stuff. We can’t. There’s too much other stuff.”
The Sharks finished last in the Western Conference in 2019-20 — firing coach Peter DeBoer in December — and they took only small steps forward last season when they finished near the bottom of the West Division with 49 points in the first full season under Boughner.
They made few big moves in the offseason outside of buying out ineffective goalie Martin Jones, acquiring Adin Hill from Arizona in a trade and signing James Reimer for a second stint with the organization. The Sharks’ .891 save percentage over the past three seasons is the lowest in the NHL.
They also added some depth forwards in Nick Bonino and Andrew Cogliano, but there will still be questions about whether there’s enough firepower on the top two lines, which will be an even greater concern if Kane doesn’t play.
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