Serena Aces on Nike Deal
Long-term endorsement, worth approximately $40 million, makes tennis star one of the highest-paid female athletes in the world
By Hamil R. Harris
The Celebrity Sell
Advertisers use black
celebrity endorsers to
pump up sales
Serena Williams, the 22-year-old world champion tennis sensation, has signed a Nike endorsement deal that is worth approximately $40 million.
Williams, who has won 23 Singles championships and 11 Doubles titles worldwide, reached a five-year agreement with Nike officials Thursday after months of negotiations. Sources said that Williams was hoping to get as much as $60 million to become the latest big-name athlete to wear the Nike logo.
Williams told those who logged onto her Website, www.serenawilliams.com
, “I am extremely happy to be a part of the Nike family … I will be working closely with Nike's team of experts to design and create my tennis shoe and apparel, and will also be given creative input in its sports and leisure wear lines for the female consumer…”
Dave Mingey, director of U.S. Media Relations for Nike, told blackenterprise.com, “We are thrilled to be partners with Serena. Not only is she one of the greatest tennis players in the world, but she is one of the greatest athletes -- male or female -- in the world.”
A source close to the negotiations said while Williams is pleased with the deal, she will receive “far less,” than the $60 million that had been on the table for weeks. But incentives and promotions, as well as a contract extension, could push her earnings over $50 million, which could make it the largest endorsement deal for a female athlete.
Serena and sister, fellow tennis star Venus Williams, have gone from the public tennis courts of Compton, California, to Wimbledon and now to Wall Street. The sisters are definitely no strangers to the advertising world. You may have seen them in ads for Puma, Avon, Wrigley's, and the 'Got Milk?' campaign. Three years ago, Venus signed a deal with Reebok reportedly worth $40 million.
While Serena is currently ranked No. 3 in the world, she has been on the sidelines since the match against Venus last July at Wimbledon. Serena said on her Website that when she resumes her career January 1, she will be sporting the new Nike logo.
Williams also said on her Website, “I can't think of a better company to be affiliated with …” and according to Mingey, the feeling is mutual. “We certainly are looking forward to working with Serena to gain her input not only as a tennis player, but as a woman, in order to develop innovative products for Nike.”