The marketability of Laura Robson in the lucrative British commercial market is set to spiral in coming years and as sport’s management companies are vying for the 19 year old’s signature, she has struck a deal with Richard Branson’s Virgin Active as the brand’s new face of tennis.
Robson’s current managerial contract with Octagon is set to expire in two months. She has not ruled out the possibility of negotiating a new agreement but both IMG and Simon Fuller’s XIX Entertainment, who have guided Andy Murray’s commercial path for the last three years, are waiting with offers.
Marketing experts insist Robson portrays the perfect profile and those who know women’s tennis maintain she will soon be a contender for Grand Slam titles and a place in the women’s top ten. Along with Heather Watson, she has raised the profile of women’s tennis in the UK and her unveiling as Virgin Active’s first tennis ambassador has seen her take a first step into the corporate world.
The current world no.43, a silver medalist in Mixed Doubles alongside Murray at last year’s Wimbledon-based Olympic event, will become the figurehead of the Virgin Active junior tennis academy, which already boasts more than 4,000 young players. A long term big shot in the British leisure industry, Virgin Active have moved into tennis and currently boast 21 clubs across the UK and hope to raise that number to beyond 40 in the next five years.
Robson’s wholesome image, she was Wimbledon junior champion at the age of 14, will play a part and she said: “I’ve always said I wanted to encourage more young girls into playing this sport and this is the perfect fit.
“The whole Olympic experience last year was designed to inspire a generation, and with what we will try to achieve with these programs, the innovations, I think we will.”
John Collard, chief executive of the Sports Impact marketing agency was quoted in the Daily Mail as saying: “It is not surprising that all the big companies want to represent Laura. She has got a combination of talent, personality and attractiveness that makes her very appealing.
“Tennis is a sport where the visibility is high on a consistent basis unlike, for example, some Olympic sports where athletes do not compete as often. By doing so well in the Olympics and the last two Grand Slams she has brought herself into focus at the right time, and Wimbledon will always be a huge showcase.
“With endorsements and appearance money she could earn three or four times her official prize money and it’s quite possible she could earn as much as Tim Henman did in his career.”
©Daily Tennis News Wire