- Roger Federer will exit the tennis professional scene having achieved GOAT status on and off the pitch
- Federer took a huge gamble in 2018 when he ditched Nike to sign deals with Uniqlo and On Branding
- It was a gamble that eventually paid off, with the Swiss star now earning 600 million USD, up from the 10 million USD he was entitled to at Nike
Tennis lovers and the sports industry, in general, are continuing to come to terms with the fact that Roger Federer will be quitting professional tennis.
Federer announced on his social media platforms on Thursday, 15th September, that he will call it quits after the Rod Laver tournament next week.
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The Swiss legend has been around forever and, together with the likes of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Serena Willams, has shaped how people perceive tennis as a sport.
His 20 Grand Slam titles will remain legendary, but so will his business acumen that saw him become only one of the six athletes in the world to cross the 1 billion mark in career earnings while still being active.
Federer had for the longest time been under Nike, but the sporting giant was presented with a dilemma in 2018 when his contract needed to be renewed, as aptly captured by Joe Pompliano.
Nike at that time also had big hitters like Serena, Nadal and Maria Sharapova. Nike decided to let go of Federer as they could not keep up with his annual 10 million USD sponsorship deal.
The then 36-year-old moved swiftly by signing a deal worth 300 million USD with Japanese company Uniqlo. This was already 30 times more than what Nike was paying him. Genius, right?
But that's not even it.
His deal with Uniqlo had two unique aspects. One, it only covered his clothes. This means he could get another sponsor for his shoes. Two, there was no retirement clause which meant that even if he retired, he was still entitled to his hefty paycheck. Now that's the real genius.
Federer would then move in quickly to sign another footwear deal with Swiss company On Running. He became the brand's global ambassador, and in return, he was bequeathed 3% of the brand's shares.
In 2020, it was estimated that On Running's net worth was at 10 billion USD, which meant that Federer's share was 300 million USD.
Cumulatively, Federer was/is now worth 600 million USD from his deal with Uniqlo and On Running alone.
Sports and brand endorsements do pay, ladies and gentlemen!
Lionel Messi leads the list of stars to wish Roger Federer well
Federer, a winner of 20 Grand Slam titles, has been inactive from the sport since a loss at Wimbledon in 2021 and has been struggling with a knee issue.
On his social media, Messi, considered the greatest football player in history, shared an image of Federer along with a wonderful message.