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The Spotted Review: Uniqlo’s New Endorsement Deal with Tennis Star Roger Federer

Welcome to The Spotted Review, our ongoing series where we analyze and grade the strength of the latest brand and celebrity partnerships — powered by data and research.

In our latest edition, The Spotted Review Team examines Uniqlo’s new endorsement deal with tennis superstar, Roger Federer.

Download this edition of The Spotted Review now to gain access to exclusive insights into the partnership, including:

  • The overall strength of the partnership between Uniqlo and Roger Federer
  • The overlap between Uniqlo’s online audience and the online audiences of Roger Federer
  • The relevance, momentum, and social follower growth of Roger Federer
  • The brands Roger Federer is spotted most frequently with on Instagram and in paparazzi photos
  • Spotted’s executive recommendation to Uniqlo on the partnership

The Context: Uniqlo x Roger Federer

At the debut of the 2018 Wimbledon Championships on July 2, 2018, tennis legend Roger Federer stepped away from his decades-old partnership with Nike, announcing his new endorsement deal with Japanese apparel company Uniqlo.

Reported to be worth more than $300 million over 10 years, the lucrative contract names Federer as a global brand ambassador for the company. Nike was offered the opportunity to match the offer but declined.

Tadashi Yanai, UNIQLO Founder and Chairman, President & CEO of Fast Retailing, said in a statement, “Mr. Federer is one of the greatest champions in history. Uniqlo will help Mr. Federer continue taking tennis to new places while exploring innovations in a number of areas, including technology and design.” Uniqlo has previously endorsed tennis players Novak Djokovic and Kei Nishikori and golfer Adam Scott.

Champion of an all-time record 20 Grand Slam singles titles, Federer is considered by many to be the greatest to ever play the game. He is also the winner of the 2017 Laureus World Sportsman of the Year. Federer receives more than $65 million per year in endorsements, and his career on-court earnings amount to $116.6 million. Other brand endorsers of his include Rolex, Mercedes-Benz, and Wilson.

Beginning in 1994, Federer’s partnership with Nike featured his own line of apparel and tennis shoes, all adorned with the iconic “RF” logo. The partnership paid him roughly $12 million per year. Nearing the end of the contract, the tennis great and his agent, Tony Godsick, were reportedly looking for more money from Nike, resulting in palpable tension and an eventual split between the two parties. While Nike owns the rights to the “RF” logo, Federer stated that he expects to reach a deal to transfer the logo so that he can continue to use it.

The terms of the Uniqlo partnership are very favorable for Federer. The contract contains an unprecedented clause that states the Swiss tennis great will collect the money even if he doesn’t play. Additionally, the deal includes the right for Federer to sell patches of his shirt to other willing brands. His deal with Nike had neither of these stipulations.

Looking forward, Federer’s Uniqlo ambassadorship seems to transcend the sport of tennis, delving into an advocacy for positive change throughout the world. Regarding the partnership, Federer said, “I am deeply committed to tennis and to winning championships. But like Uniqlo, I also have great love for life, culture and humanity. We share a strong passion to have a positive impact on the world around us and look forward to combining our creative endeavors.”

While Federer is undoubtedly a tennis legend and his name and image will live on, he continues to openly discuss his now imminent retirement. The fact that Uniqlo signed such a long-term, costly endorsement deal with Federer as he is on the brink of retirement certainly carries risk — given that most of Federer’s fame is tied to his outrageously strong tennis results.

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Download the latest edition of The Spotted Review now to gain exclusive insights into the partnership between Uniqlo and Roger Federer!