Emma Raducanu is adding British Airways to her growing portfolio of endorsement deals, flying the flag as her first British brand alongside arrangements made with US jewellery company Tiffany’s, French fashion label Dior and bottled water evian.
I actually wasn't [superstitious] until the last week when I was thinking ‘ok’. I was having poqui [a Filipino eggplant and scrambled eggs dish] for dinner every night for three weeks and, by the end, I just kept it the same because I didn't want to take any chances. Emma Raducanu
Also, the Mail on Sunday has revealed that the 19-year old from Bromley has netted another multi-million-pound deal with communications giant Vodafone due to be announced in February.
British Airways, which already supports Team GB, Paralympics GB and England Rugby, revealed Raducanu as its global brand ambassador last week.
“British Airways has taken such good care of my team and I ever since the US Open and I have felt their support everywhere I have flown,” Raducanu said. “To be partnering with such an iconic British brand that can play a big role in my performance makes a lot of sense to me.
“I’m fascinated by aviation and we have some interesting projects planned together.”
Raducanu, who recently won the BBC’s 2021 Sports Personality of the Year award and was voted the WTA Newcomer of the Year, said in a social media post that she had travelled with the airline on her way to and from the US Open in September.
British Airways, which prides itself on connecting Britain with the world and the world with Britain, will support Raducanu as she represents the nation globally, flying her to tournaments and training around the world, including next year’s French and US Opens and the Masters’ events in California and Rome.
“As we look ahead to the world opening up again, we’re excited to be supporting the very best of British talent, Emma Raducanu,” Tom Stevens, British Airways’ Director of Brand and Customer Experience, said. “We couldn’t have been prouder as a nation than when Emma won the US Open.
“Sport has the power to inspire and unite people all across the globe, so we are delighted to be supporting Emma as she represents Britain and takes on the world.”
Two weeks ago, Raducanu signed with evian as the water company’s global ambassador, posting on her Instagram account: “ I’m honoured to join the evian team!
“Evian is an iconic brand and a champion of tennis and the younger generation, which is why I’m proud to join their family.
“Being an athlete, healthy hydration continues to be of the upmost importance to my day-to-day activity so I’m excited to partner with evian and can’t wait to see what’s next!”
evian’s investments in tennis have included sponsorship agreements with top tournaments and players including Wimbledon, Maria Sharapova, Stan Wawrinka and Kyle Edmund.
A relative unknown at the beginning of 2021, the 19-year-old shot to prominence after winning the US Open, the first British woman to win a Grand Slam in 44 years when Virginia Wade won Wimbledon in 1977.
While financial terms of the BA and evian deals have not been disclosed, both are certain to run into millions of pounds.
Raducanu signed with Tiffany reported to be worth $2.6 million in September, while the arrangement with Dior is said to be for $2 million.
While still a school girl last year, she signed with IMG, the talent management company, where she is looked after by Max Eisenbud, the man behind Maria Sharapova’s big-money deals.
Comparing his two tennis stars, Eisenbud told the New York Times recently: “The difference between Maria winning Wimbledon and Emma winning the US Open really comes down to social media.
“There was no social media in 2004, but it made things move so fast this time. It’s just in warp speed.
“The iron’s hot, we’re striking!”
Raducanu’s social media followers number well past 2 million and counting.
The British No 1 entered the US Open with Nike and Wilson sponsorships thought to be one-year rolling contracts paying around $132,000 but, according to The Times, there is ‘likely to be a scramble among the top brands to secure the player’s signature long term’ when those deals expire.
With her Chinese and Romanian heritage, Raducanu is now one of the most marketable women in the world, and already worth in excess of £10 million, with her victory in New York earning her around £2 million in prize money alone.
Experts say she is extremely marketable because she is British, ‘looks the part’; and speaks fluent Mandarin, which is very helpful for big organisations in the Far East.
“This is a coup for Vodafone,” a source told Katie Hind at the Mail on Sunday. “Everywhere Emma goes now, she will have their logo nearby.
“She is exactly the woman they want: successful, normal and someone that young people aspire to be like. She is literally the perfect signing.”
She is also likeable and eloquent.
Raducanu wrote herself into the tennis’ record books following her final victory over Leylah Annie Fernandez in New York, after becoming the first ever qualifier to win a Grand Slam event without dropping a set.
The Brit captivated fans with her Flushing Meadows journey, and recently revealed in an interview with Sky Sports that while she had never been superstitions, she did not want to tempt fate when it came to her US Open diet.
“I actually wasn’t [superstitious] until the last week when I was thinking ‘ok’,” she said. “I was having poqui [a Filipino eggplant and scrambled eggs dish] for dinner every night for three weeks and, by the end, I just kept it the same because I didn’t want to take any chances.”
It is a fairy tale for the teenager from Kent, who collected her A-level results only weeks after playing at Wimbledon, but wary industry insiders point out that she must keep winning on the tennis court or her lucrative deals could be very short-lived.
Last week, Judy Murray, the mother of Andy Murray, warned Raducanu faces a steep learning curve in the year ahead.
“She is, quite rightly, tennis and marketing gold dust right now,” Murray said. “At the start, that may be exciting but, over time, it’s likely to be very draining.
“It’s not so easy for a teenager to fit into the corporate world, but sponsorship and endorsements come with obligations and personal appearances.
“And those all require your time and energy,” Murray added.
A New Year and a fresh season starting in Australia will, no doubt, set the tone as Raducanu learns the ropes on the women’s tour, with only her third direct entry into a Grand Slam now firmly in her sights.