Business Empire with the racket: how much money is at risk of losing Maria Sharapova

“I made a terrible mistake. I failed the fans. I’ve failed the sport,” said March 7 at an emergency press conference in Los Angeles Maria Sharapova. Sharapova and her PR team from the sports Agency IMG decided to give a public confession without waiting for formal charges. The athlete presented his version of the incident: included on the list of prohibited substances from January 1, 2016 Meldonium it due to health problems had used the past ten years and allegedly just missed the news about the change of status of a substance.

According to the rules of the world anti-doping Agency, in the worst case the tennis player is threatened with disqualification for four years. In April, Sharapova will celebrate 29 years — such a long suspension from participation in tournaments of the International tennis Federation could mean an end of career of the sportswoman.

According to Bloomberg, because of a problematic doping test Sharapova in the near future may lose $298 thousand, the same amount she received as a prize for participation in the Australian Open (Australian Open). At this tournament the Russian also reached the quarterfinals, where she lost to American Serena Williams.

But much more than on the court, Sharapova earned on advertising. According to the estimations of American magazine Forbes, Sharapova is the highest paid athlete in the world. This status athlete held 11 consecutive years. In 2015, its annual income was estimated at $29.7 million

A big loss

The fact that not all advertisers want to share reputational risks Sharapova, it was clear immediately: a few hours after the press conference, the company on manufacture of sportswear, footwear and equipment, Nike has announced that it suspended the contract with the tennis player.

“We are saddened and surprised by the news about Maria Sharapova. We decided to suspend relations with Mary until the investigation is complete. We continue to monitor the situation”, — said in a statement Nike (quoted by CNBC).

For businesses Sharapova is a serious blow. It is the Nike brand has become a key to commercial success of tennis players. The company, with revenues of $31 billion was the technical sponsor of Sharapova when she was still in juniors. With the increasing popularity of athletes Nike has entrusted her to oversee her own line of clothing and footwear — ballet flats from Maria Sharapova at some point turned into a biggest seller subsidiaries Cole Haan outfitter, the goods brought to the manufacturer millions of dollars in revenue. In 2013, Cole Haan was sold, but the cooperation with Nike continued until the last of the scandal: in 2010, the parties entered into a ten-year contract worth $70 million.

Probably, it was the largest agreement Sharapova: for comparison, the partnership with Porsche and Head, according to unofficial information, get her $2 million a year. The amount of the remaining contracts were not disclosed.

Margin of safety

All advertisers, in the spring campaign in 2016 involving a Russian woman, at a minimum, will study the feasibility of further collaboration to discredit the star, said Forbes analyst at a marketing firm Octagon’s David Schwab. Even if the player can convince everyone that unintentionally used a prohibited drug: “In the age of Twitter, few read past the headlines that Sharapova failed a drug test, and delves into the details,” explains the expert. According to Schwab, the large brands excuse athletes hardly seems convincing.

But a personal business Empire Sharapova can withstand the current shock, says the Agency Bloomberg with reference to the Sex of Swangard, former head of the center for the study of sports marketing at the University of Oregon. “Maria has a too big margin of safety in what is called business reputation (goodwill) and marketing demand, so it is unlikely it will share the fate of Champions from other sports, which broke reputational scandals. In the end, the powerful presentation has never been the main source of income for Mary,” says the expert.

In 2015 advertising contracts brought Sharapova $23 million, and its total advertising revenue during the years of career has exceeded $200 million, reported Forbes. For comparison, the tournaments brought Sharapova $6 million in 2015 and $36.6 million for his career. In addition to the Nike a major brand, put on the Russian in the beginning of her career, was the producer of Prince rackets. After winning 17-year-old Maria at Wimbledon 2004, the interest of advertisers has increased dramatically: Nike re-signed the contract with the player on twice as better conditions, and new partners rising stars have become Canon, Motorola, Colgate-Palmolive and other companies. Just a year after the first loud victory, Sharapova earned $18 million Later, the pool of advertisers cooperating with the Russian, included giants such as Land Rover, PepsiCo, Samsung, Tiffany & Co. and Sony.

Among its current partners — American Express payment system (a two-year agreement in 2015, the company launched a special website where cardholders AE can play a virtual match with the tennis player), Avon (Sharapova is the face of the brand spirits of Luck with 2014), Evian (mineral water producer, she has collaborated with for more than ten years), Head (rackets manufacturer was lured away from a competitor Sharapova Prince in 2011), Tag Heuer (one of the oldest of its partners, watchmaker trust in advertising their products to the Russian since 2004), Porsche (Sharapova became the Ambassador of German car brands in 2013, the agreement is for three years) and it is unclear whether there will be Nike.

Under threat because of a doping scandal, and a private business players — manufacturer of chewing candy Sugarpova. Maria launched the brand in 2012 with the support of his agent max Eisenbud. In the promotion of athlete has invested $500 thousand. She wanted to turn Sugarpova into a lifestyle brand, eventually getting beyond the confectionery segment. In January 2016, on the eve of the fatal Sharapova for the Australian Open, Eisenbud once again confirmed the ambitious plans of the manufacturer of sweets: chocolate start line to the end of the year, the company expected to increase revenue three-fold, to $20 million.

Out of the race

The iconic cyclist lance Armstrong, who in the eyes of the world beat cancer and returned to the sport in 2012 was found guilty of systematic doping. Athlete has not only lost all his hard-won 1998 titles, but also has become a pariah among advertisers. Contracts with the athlete consistently broke the official outfitter Nike, the brewing concern Anheuser-Busch, Trek Bicycle manufacturer and other major brands. When in 2013, Armstrong finally confirmed the conclusions of the anti-doping Agency on air Oprah Winfrey, he assessed the damage from the scandal at least $75 million.

Famous golfer tiger woods in the 2000s time and again headed the rating of the highest paid athletes in the world according to Forbes. A scandal broke out when the athlete admitted numerous marital infidelity: get rid of the reputation of exemplary family man, he could not keep and sponsors. One after the other from woods turned away Nike, Accenture, AT&T, Gillette, etc. the Income the golfer declined by roughly $50 million a year.

Uruguayan footballer Luis Suarez was often at the center of scandals because of unrestrained nature. After the striker at the world Cup in Brazil, bit defender Giorgio Chiellini during the match with Italy, he escaped with only one disqualification for nine games and barred from soccer for four months, but lost his sponsorship contract with online poker 888Poker, which is considered comprometerse partnership with the player. The amount of the terminated agreement were not disclosed. Main technical sponsor Adidas Suarez to terminate the cooperation without.