Roger Federer’s Uniqlo deal earlier this year has made a bigger impact on the Swiss tennis icon ending his association with Nike. Roger Federer had over the years become a virtual synonym with the American sportswear brand that created customised RF clothing and shoe line. So what led to the end of one of the global sports most impactful endorsement deals?
Money certainly was not the sole criterion.
Federer had signed one of the most lucrative brand endorsement deals with Uniqlo in the history of sports this year. The deal is fetching him at least three times more than what the incumbent apparel partner Nike was paying. However, keeping the money aside, the Swiss tennis legend has himself given the reason, which is rather intriguing, for switching from Nike to Uniqlo.
Holding that thought for a while……
The 37-year-old tennis icon entered the court for his first match at Day 1 of the Wimbledon 2018 wearing Uniqlo kit bringing an end to all the speculations and long floating rumours about the end of his 24-year association with the American sportswear giant. Then came the official announcement by the Japanese fashion brand on Twitter.
Although the exact financial terms of the 10-year agreement have not been revealed, some reports suggest that Uniqlo has shelled out a whopping $300 million to get Federer on board as the global brand ambassador. Federer’s annual $ 30 million paycheck from the Japanese brand is thrice the size of the Nike deal.
The veteran of 20 grand slam titles, Federer explained that his decision to end a two-decade association with Nike in favour of Uniqlo came as a result of the latter’s commitment to continue working with him after his retirement from the sport, a first for a sports icons’ personal endorsement deal in the history of sports.
Uniqlo’s support for Federer in the post-retirement phase is what has triggered the decision to finish his relationship with Nike, with whom he had created the iconic ‘RF logo.’
Speaking of a conversation with Uniqlo chief executive Tadashi Yanai and executive creative director John Jay, Federer said: “John Jay in New York, where I had an event there, said it very nicely: ‘One day I will retire from tennis but I will not retire from life’.”
“Life will go on and Uniqlo and Mr Yanai believed in me very strongly as being very important to their brand, even though maybe my playing days are going to come to an end at some point,” he added further.
Federer, who has been made a global ambassador for Uniqlo, has been incorporated into the brand’s LifeWear range, giving a clear indication of plans to utilise the Swiss athlete on and off-court.
The company has operations in Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Canada, China, Hong Kong, France, Germany, Malaysia, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Philippines, Spain, Uk and US. Uniqlo is also set to enter India next year.
With over 1920 Uniqlo stores worldwide, the company is aiming for an annual group sales of over $60 billion and pre-tax profit from operations of $12.2 billion by 2020.