Rosie Jones, Olivia Cruise Lines, Tennis and Who?
Rosie Jones is one of themore successful golfers on the LPGA. She's 44 years old, has 13 tour wins, and is an aficianado of cruises. Which is how she wound up with a sponsorship with Olivia Cruise Lines. Since Olivia specializes in , among other things, cruises for lesbians, this involved coming out.
But, more than that, she had to be a highly successful professional athlete who would be a great public face for the company. Which bring s me around to tennis. Tennis is a sport with a much narrower age range than golf. Golf has 14 year old stars and 44 year old stars. 'Stars' being people who a company would want as a national sponsor. The WTA has bigger stars than the LPGA, but far fewer of them.
The story goes that the owners of the cruise line met Rosie Jones on one of their cruises, and realized that they had the perfect public face for their company. A highly successful professional athlete, still a top level competitor, well respected, visually attractive and in their target market.
If Olivia, or a similiar company, wanted to draft a 'public face' fromthe tennis world, their choices are far fewer. You can get 'highly successful', 'well respected' and 'visually attractive' easily enough. But there are never very many 'top level competitors' in women's tennis. And 'in their target market' is, bluntly, something very few players inthe WTA will admit to being.
Of course, they'd give that up in a heartbeat if they got Serena in return. But it would likely cost Serena more in endorsements than they could possibly pay her. Conchi's an obvious choice, but she hasn't been a 'top level competitor' for several years. As a crude arbitrary measure, a 'top level competitor' could be anyone in the top eight, and anyone in the top fifteen under the age of 22. And Venus Williams.
There's Amelie of course, but neither her English nor her personality is allthat dynamic. The point isn't being gay. The point is being the kind of person a company wants representing them.
Why the age restriction? After age 22 or so, it's harder to sell the idea that #12 is one day going to be #1, unless they were already.
So who among today's players would it be worth it to a company that targeted gays and lesbians to pay five or ten million dollars to represent them?
Proud to be an American
Not blind. Not uninformed. We are party to atrocities. But the response of the world after 9/11 is worth noting. Even our most dire enemies offered aid. We should all be so lucky.