The Emperor’s New Clothes: Roger Federer Dumps Nike for UNIQLO
In a surprise turn of events, Roger Federer strode into what could be his ninth Wimbledon Championship run with a new apparel partner. After several months of back and forth negotiating it appears Roger has ditched Nike permanently. During his opening press conference at Wimbledon he donned a brandless top indicating his relationship with Nike had indeed hit the skids. The split became official news when Federer took the court for his first match on the famed grass court sporting a top by the up and coming Japanese brand, UNIQLO.
In a reported tense renegotiation between Federer’s agent, Tony Godsick and the Swoosh brand, there was a failure to reach a new contract figure which the Fed camp had apparently been looking to increase. Under the prior contract, Roger made about $9 million annually with Nike, not a shabby figure at all, but utterly outmatched by the reported $29.5 million a year reportedly being offered by UNIQLO. This new apparel contract comes on the heels of UNIQLO ending their most recent tennis endorsement contract with Novak Djokovic at the end of 2017.
Federer’s new contract with UNIQLO is rumored to be around $300 million over the next ten years with each year’s payout guaranteed regardless of whether Roger plays or not. This new UNIQLO contract is a huge deal as it helps push Federer’s endorsement earnings up past $70 million for 2018, surpassing the other two top endorsement earners, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lebron James.
While Roger Federer is adorned in UNIQLO headbands, tops, and shorts, his footwear still appears to be supplied by team “Just Do It” as UNIQLO has yet to make the leap into tennis footwear. Additionally, Nike still owns the rights to the iconic “RF” logo, something that the Federer team is still in negotiation to win back.
With Roger now officially off the Nike roster, will we see an explosion in resale prices for his Zoom Vapor footwear and Jordan Brand collaborations? Time will tell, but snatching up a few pieces of the now discounted “RF” apparel from Nike’s website would not be a bad play.
Written by: David Blackmon