On Monday, tennis legend Roger Federer ended the debate and rumours about his departure from the 21-year-old association with Nike, by donning Uniqlo as he stepped on to the court to play against Dusan Lajovic.
ESPN was the first to report that Federer had signed a 10-year contract with the Japanese casual-wear brand which was worth $300-million. The contract also includes a clause, apparently, which states that Federer gets to keep the money even if he is not competing. NYT reports that if true, this would be one of the largest endorsement agreements ever.
The Express reported that the 36-year-old will likely continue to play till he is 43. “Uniqlo must have a lot of money but it goes to show Federer is only human. It is weird but in a way, the likes of Rolex and Mercedes are luxury brands and maybe Uniqlo will become one with Federer wearing their clothes. I think you have to look at the way he’s playing and he must plan on playing until 42 or 43, absolutely,” said sports pundit Mats Wilander.
While there was a lot of talk about the $30 million a year deal, Sports Business Journal reporter Daniel Kaplan believes that its all hogwash.
“Federer-Uniqlo deal (is) nowhere near $30 million a year,” Kaplan tweeted. “It’s $10 million a year, Nike offered $5 million a year and only if he was playing. Uniqlo guaranteed for a decade.”
With this elite deal, however, Federer joins the likes of Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James and new Juventus player Cristiano Ronaldo. The BBC reports that a deal worth £105m has been reached between Juventus and Real Madrid and The Guardian reports that the forward has signed a four-year-deal with an annual salary of about €30m.
According to reports, LeBron James has agreed to a four-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers and will be playing for them on a $153.3 million contract. While the numbers are astonishingly large, it’s not surprising to see such expensive transfers in the field of sports. In 2016, Manchester United paid Paul Pogba €105 million, an amount that broke records at that time. The following summer, Neymar was lured away from Barcelona by Paris St. Germain who paid him €222 million.