View Full Version : Racquet sponsorships

02-01-2005, 05:34 AM
Does anyone here know what a typical racquet sponsorship is worth to the player? I'm guessing that players such as Federer get incredible deals, but if you're number 113 on the ATP tour and get virtually no "face time" on TV, what are you getting from Wilson, Prince, Head, etc.?

The reason I'm wondering is this: If a mid-to-low-ranked pro gets $50,000 a year from a racquet deal, it may seem like a lot of money. But what if instead of taking the sponsorship, that same player went to Bosworth, paid $400 per racquet for ten racquets that were perfect for his game, and wound up winning one of the third-tier events that pay about $50,000? Wouldn't it be worth buying racquets if you are performing better in tournaments than you could with sponsored racquets?

It seems to me that unless racquet sponsorships are REALLY valuable, the free racquets could easily be costing the mid-range players a ton of money.

What am I missing out of the equation?

02-01-2005, 06:23 AM
Not that I know anything about this, but I'll take an educated guess.

When your really young, and improving and starting to make a name for yourself, you probably already have a racquet preference... so either you will seek a sponsorship deal with that company, OR you will be spotted by a rep and they will sign you up to the company.

That way you start playing with their racquets at a very young age... and by the time you turn pro, your well and truely into the racquet you've played with for the past X years.

Now, considering the marketing and the millions spent on sponsorship deals with top players who are on TV... all those 12yr old wannabe pro's see their "idol" Mr.Roddick and think... I want to be like him, and so buy a Babolat. There are no Bosworth frames aaround in the top 10, so the likelyhood of any young player picking up one of these is MINIMAL at best.

So what am I saying?... I am saying you are probably correct, however a young pro learns to play with his racquet at a very young age, and the likelyhood of them playing with a bosworth when non of their idol's do, is very low.... but not impossible. So I don't think it would make such a difference... maybe pro's have tried 100's of racquets to get where they are today, and most probably some tried bosworths (to use your example).

Just ask yourself... if your 12, and play with a bosworth... and Mr. Head comes along and offers you FREE racquets and string, because your so damn good. Are you going to refuse?

02-01-2005, 06:24 AM
hmm not sure I got my point accross quite right, but I'm to tired to re-write it :-D

02-01-2005, 11:56 AM
Hey Greg, don't you guys in CA have anything to do? Maybe I should send you some racquets to test...(hehehehehehe)

As for sponsorships, a player, like Jeff Morrison (top 150) will get free frames and string, possibly some tech services and in the mid 4 figures...yep, maybe about $5k. I saw a breakdown of his compensation in a sports business journal article a year or so ago, so that's how i know. So the value of the sponsorship, not including incentives, is very, very low.

The biggest problem is that very few pro's even give a crap about equipment. How many custom frames does Safin break a tournament? That alone could be why he wins this week and loses the next.

To take $4k and splurge with the Boz (which I agree is a much better idea) is unthinkable since they don't see how sticks can really improve their games. Also, there is a prestige factor, and most players want to get free stuff, not pay.

I've played with off the shelf and custom, and hands down custom is always better.

Have a great day Greg, and tell Dave and crew to get crackin' on the next batch of frames for the RSI!


02-01-2005, 01:05 PM
Why not just get those custom frames painted to look like the ones the sponsor wants you to use? This way you get the best of both worlds. You can win the $50,000 tournament with your custom frames and still get the $50,000 sponsorship money from your racquet deal. That gets you $100,000 minus what you had to pay to get the custom racquets. I think that's what a lot of the pros do.

02-01-2005, 03:04 PM
I read in a magazine that hewitts rackets are tweeked by bosworth.

02-03-2005, 04:09 AM
Clearly, the dilemma isn't there for the Safins and Hewitts of the world -- they're high enough on the food chain to get what they want. I'm wondering about those lower down, to whom winning one title a year -- which they would not otherwise have won -- would be a huge deal in terms of year-end points, ranking points, prestige, etc. Heck, I'd think that if paying for racquets made enough difference in your game that you no longer had to go through qualifying, it would be worth the expense.

02-03-2005, 04:53 AM
Im not sure exactly what the ATP does for the players these days but a few years back when I was umpiring you'd often get players wearing clothing that had the ATP logo on it and Adidas shoes through an arrangement with the ATP. I gather it was free with their membership although the supply of gear wasn't unlimited.

In general though it seems that while they may get a break on racquets -free or preferred player deal- they need to be either a promising junior, player with past good results or seen as a sure bet for the future to get clothing endorsements. Actually, Nathan Healey an Australian player got through to the second round of the Aus Open wearing clothes and shoes bought straight off the rack.

As to going to Bosworth to create a racquet for them, a lot could but dont. That makes me wonder just how big a deal they think his frames are. Perhaps they dont see the point in spending the money because they dont feel they will play as well as other brands.

I guess also, a company like Babolat has an edge in getting players on board as they would offer frames plus the highest quality strings, all in the one deal. A guy who isn't up there in terms of ranking might struggle to get free strings through another company but if they're willing to go with the Babolat frame they can get all the other products as well and that would make quite a saving.

02-04-2005, 12:21 PM
I think most of the top players are "true" professionals which means that they do everything in their power to control their working environment, which means: plenty of racquets with fresh string and grips , the right kind of shoe for the surface, the right diet and training regimen. Sampras would be a great example of this, he micro managed everything so on game day there were no surprises. people like Goran and Marat seem to be perpetually disorganized on court, I mean Ivo had to forfeit a match one time cos he broke all his racquets. That would never happen to Hewitt, Sampras or Federer