IMG may have lost the business of world no.1 Roger Federer when his contract expired last June (although it is still collecting off the contracts that it negotiated while he was still their client), but it is eagerly looking for other prospects.
Federer left IMG in the spring when his longtime agent Tony Godsick turned in his resignation. Since then, management of the Swiss player’s estimated $40-50 million in annual endorsements has been handled by Godsick, who is now listed as working with RF Management.
IMG does represent Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova so going after another big European star seems natural and now appears to have acquired the next best thing in the shape of the world’s second ranked player Novak Djokovic. IMG already is believed to be working with Djokovic’s brother, Marko, who has trained at the IMG academy in Florida and with the family’s ATP tournament in Serbia .
Australian Open champion Djokovic has reportedly ended a four year stay under CAA Sports, a division of Creative Artists Agency that boasts Andre Agassi, Steffi Graf and Andy Murray along with such globally known artists as George Clooney, Tom Cruise, Rob ert DeNiro, Meryl Streep, Steven Speilberg, Bruce Springsteen and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
CAA has already taken Djokovic’s picture off its web site.
Djokovic admits to ending his contract with CAA last month and now IMG is ready to sign up the 25 year-old Serbian who has long term endorsements with the Japanese apparel manufacturers Uniqlo (five years) and Head rackets (three years) in place, along with Mercedes-Benz, and Teklecom Serbia .
He and his family are believed to have been in serious discussions with IMG representatives during the recent US Open and talks are continuing.
If Djokovic does join IMG he will stand alongside Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova and Li Na as the company’s most marketable assets and will provide a huge boost to the share-holding after Federer’s decision to leave two months ago
Djokovic, who is also independently advised by the American billionaire and business magnate Ron Burkle, reported: “I ended that contract and a transition period is kind of going on right now.”
Speaking of his time with CAA, he added: “I have had a contract with for four years. I tried to work it out, and it was successful, but I think I needed to move on. I am ending most of my contracts that I had from previous years and now I am actually negotiating with many companies for the future.”
US Open champion Andy Murray, another long term IMG target, is currently managed by Simon Fuller’s XIX Entertainment, who come under the CAA umbrella.
According to Forbes, in June 2012, Djokovic was earning around $20.6 million annual, but only $9 million of that came from endorsements. Top tennis earner Roger Federer takes in around $52. 7 million annually with some $45 million coming from off court earnings. Rafael Nadal makes about $33.2 million ($25 million off court), and Maria Sharapova at is slated at $27.1 million ($22 million off court).
©Daily Tennis News Wire