No more Adidas for Naomi Osaka? New apparel deal coming up soon?

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Technifibre promo

The word is out that Naomi Osaka will have a new apparel sponsor as early as next month, so we may be in the last days of seeing the world No.1 in Adidas.

Writing about sports agency giant IMG and listing Osaka’s high-profile sponsorship contracts that came with her newly-found stardom, Forbes‘ Kurt Badenhausen hinted that the two-time Grand Slam champion is about to start endorsing a new logo:

She has signed a slew of new endorsement deals since the Open win, including All Nippon Airways, Procter & Gamble, Nissan and Shiseido (she also upgraded her Nissin noodles deal). A new apparel deal is expected next month, and Osaka will be the highest-paid female athlete on the planet by the time of the Tokyo Olympics next year.

I think Osaka and Adidas are a perfect match, so I would be sad to see this partnership end. The 21-year-old and her wild locks make Adidas clothes come to life in a very unique way, especially their colorful outfits.

When my photographer Jimmie48 tweeted this piece of news, somebody responded that Uniqlo is a possible new clothing sponsor, as SI’s John Wertheim hinted in his “Mailbag: Checking in from Indian Wells”:

That sound you heard? That’s the Uniqlo money truck backing up to entice Naomi Osaka in advance of Tokyo 2020. Which is to say: Don’t, perhaps, get used to her in Adidas much longer.

Uniqlo is owned by billionaire Japanese businessman Tadashi Yanai, so the Japanese WTA star seems like a good fit in that respective, although I’m not really familiar with their women’s tennis clothes, so I don’t have opinion on that.

Let’s wait and see what will happen. What we do know is that Naomi is currently endorsing Adidas x Parley collection, in particular the Spring Parley Tank and Skirt.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Highest paid female athlete by 2020?
    I struggle to believe that.

    Uniqlo would be a good match for Naomi. Japanese brand so does make sense, however like you said; I haven’t seen a women’s sports line by them. I can only imagine, being a Japanese brand that the line would be conservative and minimal. We’ll see

  2. With Wang Qiang, Wang Yafan, Wang Xiyu, and Wang Xinyu, looks like the WTA has a little “Wang” to it. Good though! (Guess this is the Li Na influence, eh?

  3. Since none of these speculators know the precise details of her current Adidas deal (which was just signed last fall after the US Open), I think a bit of caution is in order. I’d imagine Uniqlo could afford to buy out her Adidas agreement if they really want her that badly, but if so, why did they not scoop her up before she signed with Adidas?

    And for Jacob above: With the money Japanese companies are willing to throw at their few top players (see Nishikori), she will most certainly top the list of top-earning female athletes in short order, if not already. Nishikori is routinely ranked as the second or third highest paid male tennis player (based on his endorsements from mostly Japanese companies) after Federer, even though his career on-court achievements are more on the level of players like Isner or Querrey (and not even as good as Ferrer), for example, and not even remotely close to Hall of Fame level (At least Osaka is double slam champ already, and a Hall of Fame lock, whereas half of Nishikori’s titles are at the lowest ATP 250 level and he’s never won a Maters 1000).

  4. Jim, you know that the WTA has been heavily investing in China, with the specific goal of gaining influence there and making more girls interested in tennis. Li Na definitely is part of that strategy, as a player aiming to draw young women to tennis.

    Lotionmyfeet, I guess you’re right, although my intention was good, I love her hair. Which word would you use to describe it better?

    Dennis, thank you for your insight into Nishikori’s deals. It really puts perspective on Osaka’s earning potential. So what’s implied is that if she were not Japanese, she would’ve earned less, since Japanese sponsors seem to be exceptionally generous.

  5. Well, I think it’s not so much that Japanese companies are exceptionally generous, just that they have less top-level players to support. One or two who get to a top level, like Nishikori can far out-earn peers from other countries who have similar career achievements (or at times even better) but get less attention in their own countries in more diffuse markets (especially in markets where tennis isn’t as big, such as the US, where other sports like football and basketball dominate). Without a male grand slam champion in over 15 years, tennis has become a niche sport in the US. Even Federer doesn’t get near the coverage or recognition in the US sports world or media in general as he would if he were American (he’s never been SI Sportsperson of the Year, for example). If Fed were American he’d easily make double his already substantial endorsement portfolio.

  6. It would be really sad to see Osaka wearing another brand. If it’s Uniqlo, you guys are correct it will be a perfect match and a good investment for both parties since Olympics is due next year. I do believe that before Sloane signed with Nike, she was also approached by Uniqlo. It will be interesting to see what Uniqlo will make for Osaka who deserves her own line based on her achievements on court. Uniqlo is really pushing to be a good sports apparel alternative not just in tennis but in any other sports for that matter. With Federer on their side as well, they are really very serious to invest.

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