One of the biggest stories of the 2013 tennis season has undoubtedly been the fading form of Swiss maestro Roger Federer (Player Profile), which has led to the big question of whether he will choose to bow out from the game in the not too distant future. If the Swiss player’s career is on the wane it will undoubtedly be a great loss to the sport of tennis but the man himself will barely feel the difference financially thanks to the outstanding proficiency he and his management have shown in marketing the player throughout his career.
Federer is essentially a marketer’s dream and has been for more than a decade, with the Swiss player’s outstanding skill and success being perfectly contemplated by his stylish and suave demeanour. Add to this the fact that he speaks several languages fluently, has never even come close to the kind of controversies that sometimes make companies wary of backing sportsmen and has been voted most popular ATP player for ten years running, and you get the ideal marketable sportsman.
This is something that clearly hasn’t been lost on the man himself, and thanks to hugely lucrative deals with luxury brands like Rolex and Moet & Chandon, Federer has managed to accrue a personal wealth estimated at $400 million by Forbes, of which only $77 million can be traced to tournament prize money.It is fair to say then, that the Swiss legend will hardly struggle to make ends meet if he were to retire from tournament play, and the chances are that he would continue to make significant money from his non-tour related activity anyway.
This is the case for a number of reasons not least of which is the fact that many of Federer’s endorsements are longer term deals which will continue to run for years to come, foremost amongst which is his 2008 £160 million deal with Nike that does not expire until 2018. What’s more, even with his fading form Federer remains one of the best sporting investments for companies due to the fact that other sportsmen who once commanded a similar level of endorsement are fading from popularity even faster. You only have to look at the likes of David Beckham, Kobe Bryant and Lance Armstrong who have all lost popularity with big name sponsors for one reason or another in recent years, for evidence of this.
So, whilst Federer’s fall from grace on the court is far from guaranteed, if he is to bow out from tournament play sooner rather than later, the well-oiled money making machine that surrounds him will surely still stand him in good stead for years to come.