Wimbledon attracts Amex for 2019, as Federer swaps Nike for Uniqlo
American Express, the prominent credit card provider, has signed up to become a new sponsor of the Wimbledon tennis championships, the UK’s grand slam event, starting in 2019.
The new multi-year deal was confirmed by the All England Lawn Tennis Club on Saturday as it also announced renewals with four other partners – Lanson, Evian, HSBC and Stella Artois.
American Express will serve as the ‘official payments partner’ of the championships, the 2018 edition of which began today.
The brand has previously built up a reputation in sport as a sponsor of leading golf tournaments, and remains a partner of the United States Golf Association for events including the US Open.
It is also the main sponsor of Brighton and Hove Albion, of English soccer’s Premier League, and the team’s American Express Community Stadium.
American Express will be joining an exclusive group of Wimbledon ‘official suppliers’, which presently number 12 in all.
Lanson, the French champagne house, has extended its deal by three years, until 2020, while Evian, the French water brand, and HSBC, the international bank, have signed up for a further five years, until 2022.
Beer brand Stella Artois, another French company, has prolonged its sponsorship, which was due to expire next year, by three years, until 2021.
The other incumbent sponsors are Slazenger, Robinson’s, IBM, Ralph Lauren, Pimm’s, Haagen-Dazs, Jaguar Land Rover and Lavazza.
• Roger Federer, the eight-time Wimbledon singles champion, has signed a new long-term kit deal with Uniqlo, the Japanese clothing brand, after leaving long-time supplier Nike.
Under the agreement, which was expected and is reported to be worth more than $300 million over 10 years, the Swiss superstar, the winner of a record 20 men’s grand slam titles, will wear apparel produced by Uniqlo.
The 36-year-old Federer unveiled the new kit in his Wimbledon round one victory over Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic today. He was still wearing Nike shoes.
It is understood that Federer has negotiated a deal in which he will be paid by Uniqlo even if he does not play, and will be able to sell patches on his shirt to other companies, a clause not permitted under his previous deal with Nike.
Federer had been associated with the US sportswear giant for 24 years, ever since he was an aspiring junior, and created the ‘RF’ logo, which is still owned by Nike.
However, the last deal, said to be worth $120 million over a decade, expired on 1 March, and Nike’s right to match a rival offer had also passed, with reports of tension between Nike and Federer’s agent Tony Godsick, as the latter sought a more lucrative contract for his client.
The world number two had continued to wear Nike products without a deal, until the agreement with Uniqlo was announced today.
The Japanese company was previously a sponsor of 12-time grand slam champion Novak Djokovic of Serbia, but the five-year association expired last year, with the player moving to French fashion brand Lacoste in a five-year deal worth around $9 million per year.
Nike remains the kit sponsor of world number one Rafael Nadal of Spain who recently won his 17th grand slam and 11th French Open title in Paris.
Last week, the company exceeded expectations as it announced revenues of $9.8 billion for the fourth quarter, up 13 per cent on the previous year, and $36.4 billion for the full 12 months, an increase of 6 per cent. Net income was up 13 per cent to $1.1 billion in the last quarter.
Nike has been boosted by double-digit growth in international
markets and a return to growth, of 3 per cent in North America, while making
various new appointments to fill vacancies left by a slew of departures of
senior executives that followed a probe into alleged workplace misbehavior.
Meanwhile, NetJets, the private aircraft ownership company, has become a sponsor of German tennis star Angelique Kerber.
She will enjoy access to a NetJets Phenom 300 aircraft for travel to and from Wimbledon and, in return, will carry a branded NetJets bag to her games at the tournament.
Federer and Russia’s Maria Sharapova have a long-standing ambassadorial agreements with NetJets.