BEAVERTON, United States — Tennis star Naomi Osaka surprised industry watchers by signing an endorsement deal with Nike Inc., switching from the US sports brand’s biggest rival, Adidas AG.
The sports world had been anticipating that Adidas would pay a record sum to renew a clothing endorsement with No. 1-ranked Osaka, who seized global media attention by defeating Serena Williams at the US Open last year. The Times of London had reported the winning bidder for Osaka’s clothing deal would pay about $8.5 million.
Nike, based in Beaverton, Oregon, didn’t disclose how much it paid or terms of the deal with Osaka in its statement on Thursday. The Japan-born tennis player is scheduled to wear Nike gear for the first time later this month at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix tournament in Stuttgart, Germany.
Global brands from Nissan Motor to Shiseido have signed with Osaka. Her high-profile win against Williams at the US Open launched Osaka into stardom as a new face with international appeal, especially for advertisers chasing younger, more diverse shoppers. Osaka’s mother is Japanese and her father is Haitian-American.
By Dave McCombs; editors: Rachel Chang, Jeff Sutherland and Reed Stevenson.