Divorces are never painless, especially when another person is involved or as in the case of Roger Federer and Nike, another brand. The news that the tennis king decided to abandon his twenty-year-old sponsor to get dressed as UNIQLO, a Japanese mid-range clothing brand, dates back a few months ago. The news as unexpected as clamorous makes us wonder who, in this match between brands and champions, has won.
Champions and brand, a challenge that comes out of the field.
The answer is not unique.
Roger Federer has certainly won. Although, at 37, he is entering the final parable of his glittering career, he has managed to get a 30 million contract a year, for 10 years, without the constraint of having to necessarily play a minimum number of games. However, although an income of 300 million is an immense goal, perhaps its image does not come out so victorious. In fact, its official RF trademark remains the property of Nike and the tennis player has had or wanted to abdicate, at least in part, his name in exchange for stellar figures.
UNIQLO has certainly won, obtaining an unprecedented brand awareness. In short, how many of you knew this brand before today? I bet very few.
In fact, although UNIQLO is a market leader in the country of the rising sun, it certainly has never been able to boast the popularity of Nike and perhaps even with this exceptional testimonial will be able to reach the results of the American giant, but there is no doubt that his logo on King Roger’s chest gives him visibility and credibility never seen before.
Nike, deprived of one of its most important testimonials, of the three contenders is probably the brand that comes out worse.
Despite continuing to supply the shoes to Federer and remain in possession of its brand RF (even if some rumors claim that soon will give the rights to UNIQLO) from now perhaps will be seen with more distrust by the general public of lovers of tennis. However, the sportswear giant is destined to fall on its feet and certainly has no problem finding a sportsman eager to wear his visible logo on his chest.
Maybe that’s why in these days Nike decided to choose as his face the football player Colin Kaepernick, famous for kneeling during the national anthem in protest against Trump? In short, we are sure that the American brand certainly does not want to be overshadowed by any brand of clothing and is ready to replicate with a nice upside down that Roger has pulled.
PS, on September 4th, Federer was defeated by Millman, number 55 in the ranking, so maybe Nike was more forward-looking than we think? We and all sports fans will be watching.