- Naomi Osaka has signed a three-year endorsement deal with Nissan, days after reports emerged that Adidas was set to reward her with the biggest contract it had ever given a female athlete.
- Osaka, 20, beat Serena Williams at the US Open final on September 8 and is becoming a household name.
- It has been a whirlwind week for Osaka and her sponsors, as one company has witnessed an increased share price of 10%.
- The effect is reminiscent of how Cristiano Ronaldo fever gripped Juventus FC when the Portuguese striker left Real Madrid CF to join the Italian club in July.
- Osaka could become to tennis what Ronaldo is to world soccer.
Naomi Osaka has signed yet another deal and is well on her way to being the biggest star in tennis.
The 20-year-old Japanese-Haitian player beat Serena Williams in straight sets at the 2018 US Open during a dramatic showdown on September 8 which saw the American veteran get slapped with a hat-trick of code violations for receiving coaching, smashing a racket, and for verbal abuse.
There is no question that Osaka is on her way to becoming a household name. In the immediate aftermath of her victory she got invited on the “Today” show, told Ellen DeGeneres that she has a crush on “Black Panther” actor Michael B. Jordan, and melted hearts around the world with an adorable home video that shows her, aged 10, winning games of chopsticks.
Her new-found fame is not lost on sponsors. Earlier this week it emerged that Adidas was reportedly planning to give Osaka the biggest contract it had ever given a female athlete – rumoured to be worth $8.5 million a year.
But the mega contracts do not end there.
On Thursday, global car manufacturer Nissan confirmed that it has made Osaka its latest brand ambassador.
“With a combination of grit and grace, Naomi Osaka is not afraid to take on the best tennis players of our time, and win,” Asako Hoshino, senior vice president at Nissan, said.
Meanwhile, Osaka added: “I’m so honoured to represent Japan and Nissan on the world stage. I was drawn to partner with Nissan because of its strong Japanese DNA and global competitive spirit.”
Osaka, the first Japanese player to ever win a Grand Slam title in tennis, signed the three-year endorsement deal on Thursday, according to Bloomberg, which does not specify the finances. However, it adds to her ever-growing list of sponsors like Japan-based dried noodle maker Nissin Foods Holdings Co., electronics firm Citizen Watch Co., and Wowow Inc., a satellite and television station in Tokyo.
iNews reported on Thursday that, since Osaka’s triumph at the US Open, shares in Yonex, a Japanese manufacturing company that also sponsors her, also rose over 10%.
Linking up with Osaka clearly has a positive effect on a company, reminiscent of the Cristiano Ronaldo effect that occured when the Portuguese striker left Real Madrid CF for Juventus FC in a stunning $129.3 million (£99.2 million) deal in July.
Ronaldo fever instantly gripped Juventus. The club sold $62.4 million worth of shirts in 24 hours, gained over one million new followers on its social media channels, and its stock price increased over 40%, according to reports.
It may only be a matter of time before Naomi Osaka becomes to tennis what Cristiano Ronaldo is to world soccer.