How Roger Federer Became the First Tennis Billionaire

almost anyone who loves tennis and follows the man’s tour on television over the last few years head worth might be turned Federer moments these are times watching the Swiss at play when the jaw drops and eyes protrude and sounds are made that bring spouses in from other rooms to see if you’re okay [Applause] the shop [Music] of the tournament that’s what David Foster Wallace who wrote about Roger Federer as a religious experience in the New York Times in 2006 15 years and 12 Grand Slams later Federer is one of the richest athletes ever his strategic moves in the background are often as astonishing as the federal moments on the court so this present piece will be about Roger Federer as a businessman you know ever since I signed the Uniqlo deal and I’ve gotten together with with on it’s it’s changed a little bit I know I’m gonna be you know working also beyond my playing days which I was anyway always going to do also with my charity and and that I have my four children and my wife and I want to spend maximum time there so I’m really excited about it it’s understandable that he is excited about it Roger Federer is on the way to join the very elite club of athlete billionaires members so far Michael Jordan Tiger Woods and Floyd Mayweather 7 years on the players counsel Federer has been responsible for increasing prize money at Grand Slam tournaments he also press conferences in four languages he works in an exemplary manner for her sponsors and he is involved and invested in some fast-growing ventures that are expanding his influences beyond the court we are going to take a closer look at how those areas are connected and identified the traits that make Federer a successful player in the world of business at the end of each year the Association of Tennis Professionals is announcing the prize money leaders of the season with only one exception Federer has been in the top 10 each season for the last 20 years having earned a total of almost 130 million dollars puts him on the second-place of the all-time list right behind Novak Djokovic who is mainly in the lead because of the inflation of prize money in recent years playing in the top 10 of the world for two decades is extremely unusual in any sport but even more so in a physically exhausting one like tennis what’s even more unusual than Federer’s constant dominance on the court is that his prize money is only a small part of his total earnings looking at the list of highest-paid athletes of 2019 Federer makes by far the most money from sponsorships among all athletes and across all sports the relative figures are even more significant over 90% of federer’s earnings are from endorsements no other athlete even comes close to that LeBron James takes the second place with a share of not even 60% the biggest part of Federer’s endorsements comes from his deal with Uniqlo that is reported to be worth 30 million dollars annually after 20 fruitful years with Nike Federer caused a stir in the tennis and business words when he inked a 10-year contract with Uniqlo in 2018 the Japanese clothing retailer is better known for its casual lifestyle apparel than for its athletic pursuits while many experts at the time predicted that leaving night he would damage his image and called the move a mistake Federer saw an opportunity I thought it would be a wonderful step into new end of us an entrepreneurial stage incorporating philanthropy innovation and new regions of the world this illustrates very well how Federer approaches his business decisions he always considers the long-term consequences and plans ahead a sticking point with Federer and Nike was the American companies insistence that he would be paid only if he was playing that’s not the case with Uniqlo which envisions Federer transitioning from tennis player to global ambassador the list of sponsorships doesn’t end with Nike and Uniqlo though it reads like a who is who of global luxury brands for example thanks to his role as a brand ambassador for mercedes-benz Federer has a large car collection he partnered with a German automaker in 2008 and renewed the deal in 2018 the multi-year partnership is estimated to earn him five million dollars a year [Music] Federer is also one of the best known ambassadors for Rolex you won’t see him lifting a trophy without one of the luxury watches on his wrist each of them hand-picked to match the tournament this is what distinguishes Federer from other professional athletes he is very well aware of his commitments and knows how to endorse his sponsors at all times although we never won Wimbledon ourselves with all the dopamine and thoughts running through your head it’s probably easy to forget to put on a watch but that’s what Federer does reliably almost every time to make sure the company gets the visibility it is paying for another secret of Federer to creating value for brands is having more than one person or two markets of course there is the image of the successful and hardworking athlete that sells sporting goods then there is the person of thoughtful and pursue the gentleman who sells watches and cars the international and culture loving person artists are pasta the local hero persona to sell anything Swiss you get the idea this is not by accident but a strategic move from Federer next to his professionalism and credibility Federer has this intrinsic drive to develop ideas and projects that energy goes beyond his collaborations with global brands he utilizes it more and more to push ahead his own ventures in 2012 Federer told his longtime agent Tony got sick you saw me well but I saw myself better so let’s start a joint company and that’s what they did with the players agency team 8 at the end of his sporting career Federer is more than just a tennis player of the agency and increasingly acts as company representative his political moves are now as feared as those he prepares with a beautiful one-handed back end in recent years Federer has used his charisma to try to attract up-and-coming players to teammate who are Martin del Potro and Grigor Dimitrov were temporarily under contract with the only 15 year old American Cory golf team 8 has an exceptional talent in its ranks Alexander tariffs signed with the agency as well with Swarovski Mittman team 8 has gained further influence but the most important driving force is not a player it is the Laver Cup the competition created three years ago by Federer and God sig with the help of the Australian and American tennis Federation’s the matches between a world and the European selection that Federer has always led present the often very traditional tennis board in a modern look almost all the top stars compete as team players with the necessary seriousness at the actual show event this is partly due to the lucrative entry and victory bonuses but also thanks to federal high standing among his colleagues the first three editions of the Labor Cup were a huge media success outside of the tennis world one of Federer’s most notable investment opportunities opened up to him after he left Nike among the many brand partnerships for watches luggage and other luxuries there was an opening in Footwear Federer had originally met the unfound us over dinner in 2017 several years after he had first noticed how many people in Switzerland were wearing their shoes he has now become an investor in as well as a contributing product designer and representative for the brand which was started in 2010 in Zurich after growing by word of mouth among endurance athletes and in running specialty stores honest gaining ground as an underdog rival two giants like Nike and Adidas and performance sports shoe category the cooperation with Federer seems like a natural fit and could turn out as another smart career move of the swiss considering the impact and level that Federer has reached with his undertakings it surprises that Federer himself describes his business approach as conservative of course you gotta take chances on the tennis court or in or in life at times but at the end of the day I like to be conservative I guess it’s also a Swiss mentality to some extent up I believe I dream big but yet we play it safe to some extent and you know and I think that’s what it is I’ve never done crazy silly investments even though this is a big investment add-on and this is the biggest one yet in my in my time but I’m very confident about it and I really think it’s gonna be a great future for both of us but you don’t want to be careful and surround yourself with the right people of course surrounding yourself with the right people is one of the traits that Federer masters best the obvious example is his wife Milkha who has been praised many times to have a huge influence on Federer success and for being a key driver in his career great teamwork and leadership skills credibility and a strategic mindset made Federer already stand out as a professional athlete now he applies the same traits off the court to shape his financial decisions and proves that they are just as valuable in the world of business despite all the projects and politics that he is involved in Federer has also some fun retirement plans in 2018 he told a swiss newspaper that he has bought an old bus from the 60s which he plans to drive around europe once he has some spare time and whenever he doesn’t feel like traveling he probably won’t have the worst time staying at home in his mansion on lake zurich with all the adventures and ventures that he has kicked off in the last year’s of his career he will most likely not get bored but keep pushing the boundaries whether on court or importance you