Maria Sharapova has been the highest paid female athlete in the world for 11 straight years with only 5 grand slams and not so impressive runs of winning tournaments as compared to her rivals Serena Williams and others. It’s a matter of wondering how Maria Sharapova continues to be highest paid without too many wins? The answer is her endorsements and off court ventures bring in the monies for her and this article highlights why Maria is a successful business woman.
“If you had a choice between winning Wimbledon or making $20 million in endorsements, what would you choose?” The teenager stares straight into the camera and shows a glint of business-savvy: “I would want to win Wimbledon, because then the millions will come.”
The answer she gave not only floored her agent since she joined IMG at 11 years but also showed the world that she was going to be a super successful athlete.
Maria may not be winning grand slams but her off court ventures have positioned her as a Brand by her self. Maria owns a candy brand Sugarpova – She is not only the owner but also the creative designer of the brand and she also co owns a line of skincare products called Supergoop. Maria’s hard work has important lessons for budding entrepreneurs and marketeers.
Here are 5 reasons that make Maria Sharapova the world’s most marketable female:
1. Going out of her way for sponsors – In 2008 when Maria suffered a serious shoulder injury she was informed it could end her tennis career. That’s when she told her agent to call her sponsors and let them know her situation. She also asked her agent to let her sponsors know she had all the time in the world and she was willing to do what ever commitments were needed from the sponsor deliverables. This attitude worked wonders for her especially with Tag Heuer as they saw her as a stronger mental fortitude.
2. Taking personal interest in her business ventures – During her injury in 2008 , Maria said making smart decisions became priority and she lived up to taking smart decisions. After super successful investments in Sugarpova and Supergoop she and her team looked into public relations team were handling the day-to-day operations, branding and strategy, however Maria has hired Marvin Traub Associates to completely take over operational and brand oversight resulting improved sales and 50% growth in business.
3. Believes in long term partnerships – Maria has had 3 notable long lasting partnerships in Nike, IMG and Evian all of them are 10+ years old. She has been with Nike since she was 11 years. This trait makes Maria a trust worthy person and brands love athletes with such a positive attitude.
4. Self disciplined – Maria is very self disciplined and doesn’t get distracted. Maria lives by two fundamental pillars : consistency and perseverance and its these fundamentals that drive discipline.
5. Building her brand on social media – Maria is very popular on social media especially on Facebook with 15 million fans, Maria is well aware of this fact and creates her own posts because she wants to be as authentic as she can with her supporters.
I have put together an infographic on Business behind world’s most marketable female athlete where I have highlighted Maria as an athlete, as a business woman and as a humanitarian.