Sports’ world’s most iconic endorsement relationship between Roger Federer and Nike is on the verge of collapse, if it has already not collapsed!
A tension has been brewing between Federer and Nike camps after Japanese clothing brand Uniqlo has reportedly offered the World No. 2 tennis star a $300 million endorsement deal. The proposed contract will turn through ten years and also cover the period post Federer’s retirement. The deal will potentially increase Federer’s annual revenue of $77.2 million by 30%.
Federer’s Nike deal has expired in March and is not renewed yet amidst the increasing tension between the two camps.
Reports have first surfaced that the Swiss tennis icon has ended his ties with Nike. Federer has been pivotal to Nike’s campaigns around all the major events, featuring the Swiss star, who has supported Nike clothing all through his career ever since their tie-up in 1994. The 24-year association is under threat from the offer by Uniqlo, who have been gunning for the most successful tennis star with an eye on the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Nike also owns the special Roger Federer line RF, which Federer might not be able to carry along if he splits with the American brand. Federer meanwhile has been wearing RF 20 shirts even as the contract has reportedly not been renewed since March 1 this year.
Brand Uniqlo has also been endorsed by Novak Djokovic until 2017 and Japanese star Kei Nishikori. Since the brand does not produce tennis shoes, Djokovic and Nishikori have been supporting Adidas footwear.
It will also be interesting to see which footwear will Federer opt if his deal with Uniqlo is finalised. Will Nike let its most prominent face to go and support one its major rivals? Or, can a possible lifetime deal between Nike and Federer further extend and strengthen the 24-year-old relationship.
The American sportswear brand has in the past inked lifetime deals with Cristiano Ronaldo as well as NBA icons Michael Jordan and LeBron James.