May 25, 2012

Why Novak Djokovic should return to Adidas

From CNBC's Darren Rovell:
In November of 2009, Novak Djokovic signed a 10-year apparel deal with Sergio Tacchini, as his former sponsor adidas put its money in Andy Murray. It was a huge coup for the brand, who once had Pete Sampras and John McEnroe, but hadn’t been able to find relevance. 
But on Tuesday, Tacchini announced in a statement that the two had mutually decided to part ways. The reasoning? The small brand couldn’t handle the success that the Serbian player had with them.
In their clothes, Djokovic has won four majors, including the Australian Open twice. He has also won 84.7 percent of his matches (161 out of 190) and has been No. 1 in the world for nearly 11 consecutive months.
Novak Djokovic has also recently confirmed on his Twitter account that he is now officially with Uniqlo, a Japanese apparel company. Uniqlo also sponsors Japanese tennis ace, Kei Nishikori. I'm a bit disappointed that Nole didn't sign up with either of the two biggest apparel brands in sports, Nike and Adidas.

It's unfortunate that Sergio Tacchini wasn't able to capitalize on the Djoker's success. I also feel sorry for Djokovic since Sergio Tacchini was also unable to help him solidify his personal brand. Despite his enormous success last year, he still couldn't compete against Roger Federer's or Rafa Nadal's drawing power. The two are still the biggest names in men's tennis and this can also be attributed to the fact that they're backed by Nike, a global apparel giant that's not only able to create lovely designs for the two, but are also able to come up with very interesting marketing campaigns.

If I'm not mistaken, the only Grand Slam champion on Adidas' roster right now is French Open winner and former world no. 1 Ana Ivanovic. (Sorry, Andy Murray, those GS finals do not count. Caroline Wozniacki, being a slamless former no. 1 will also not cut it.) This is unfortunate considering that Adidas had the likes of Steffi Graff, Martina Hingis, Marat Safin and Anna Kournikova (she actually partnered with Hingis to win a women's doubles GS title) in the past. Nike, on the other hand, still has Federer, Nadal, US Open 2009 champion Juan Martin Del Potro, Maria Sharapova, Serena Williams, defending French Open champ Li Na, current women's world no. 1 and current Australian Open winner Victoria Azarenka and defending Wimbledon champ Petra Kvitova. Thus, it would be smart for both Adidas and Djokovic to get back together. Adidas needs another marketable GS champ. Djokovic needs a big time apparel sponsor that: (a) would not be burdened by his success and (b) would also help him build his personal brand.

Here are other reasons why Djokovic should come back to Adidas:

1) He looks great in Adidas (despite the weird color combos of some designs):

2 )They gave him a signature Adidas Falcon range that was perfect for his image. It was said that Djokovic, who also goes by the nickname "Nole", was playfully called "Nole Sokole " (Nole the Falcon) growing up.

3) I don't understand what they're saying in this 2008 video but he looks great promoting the brand with the queen of Adidas, childhood friend Ivanovic:

Just to defend Murray, the Djoker was still not his invincible self during the time that he was with Adidas. Murray was, arguably, the more marketable one during that time since Adidas could use Murray's popularity to secure a bigger share in the UK market. The apparel brand probably couldn't also offer Djokovic a better deal because of Ivanovic's lifetime deal (which could have been much, much more lucrative if not for the career slump that followed her ascent to world no. 1). Ugh, now I'm sad for Ana, too. Oh, the what-could-have-beens...

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