Bianca Andreescu earned a cool US$3.85 million for becoming Canada’s first-ever Grand Slam champion at the U.S. Open on Saturday, but the teen tennis phenomenon also stands to attract significant sponsor dollars in the wake of her victory.
The Mississauga, Ont. native inked sponsorship deals with BMW Canada and the Quebec vegan restaurant chain Copper Branch earlier this year. She already had deals in place with Nike and the racquet sports company HEAD, which posted a congratulatory message on its website reading “Champions don’t blink. Congratulations, U.S. Open champion, Bianca.”
But experts say that Andreescu could potentially become a major draw for sponsors, attracted by an enticing combination of high-end skill and her distinctly Canadian personality. The latter was on full display in Flushing Meadows on Saturday, when the 19-year-old apologized to fans after handily dispatching crowd favourite Serena Williams in two sets.
“She has a great and fun personality and comes across as a natural in on-court interviews,” says Youvale van Dijk, founder of the U.S. sports business website Score & Change. “She also has the game and age to stay at the top for a long time. So those are all positives.”
Ishveen Anand, CEO of New York-based sports sponsorship firm OpenSponsorship, says that winning the U.S. Open means that Andreescu’s appearance fees could be as much as five times what they were previously, while her rates for social media endorsement could be “at least” three times greater than they were prior to the win.
Anand points to Andreescu’s Instagram following, which has increased significantly over the past several months—from 25,000 on March 1 to more than 500,000 as of Monday, according to OpenSponsorship tracking. The average number of likes per Instagram post has increased 249% in the past month, while the average number of likes per Twitter post is also up 113% in the past 30 days.
Andreescu’s win is a major coup for both BMW and Copper Branch, both of which signed sponsorship deals with the young star prior to her recent on-court success and accompanying rise—to fifth place—in the world rankings.
“We are so proud of her accomplishments and couldn’t ask for a better association and face for this campaign,” says Andrew Infantino, director of marketing and brand management for Copper Branch, which signed Andreescu to a one-year sponsorship deal earlier this year for a reported $50,000. The company is “over the moon” about her recent success, he says.
“We hope to work with Bianca in the long term,” he adds. “Her personality, skill, and dedication are all admirable. [She is] a perfect representation with what we hope to achieve with our whole, plant-based foods at Copper Branch.”
The restaurant chain has previously inked several sponsorship deals with vegan athletes, including Montreal Alouettes player Marc-Olivier Brouillette and professional figure skater Meagan Duhamel in recent years. “It is all part of the brand philosophy to eat wholesome, great tasting food, to live a beautiful and impactful life,” says Infantino.
Copper Branch’s 30-second commercial promoting its Aztec Power Bowl appeared twice during TSN’s coverage of Saturday’s final between Andreescu and Serena Williams, which attracted an average audience of 2.5 million people.
Marc Belcourt, director of corporate communications for BMW Canada, says it was a no-brainer for the automaker to extend its commitment to Canadian tennis by sponsoring Andreescu, particularly after she won the prestigious BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells in March (BMW released its first video featuring Andreescu during the Rogers Cup in Toronto, which Andreescu won.)
“High performance organizations strive to surround themselves with likeminded individuals, customers and brands,” says Belcourt. “Having Ms. Andreescu as part of the BMW team will definitely inspire pride within our organization and our customers.”
Andreescu’s sponsorship deal with BMW includes promotion on the luxury automaker’s social media channels and the opportunity for in-person appearances. The company has also provided Andreescu with one of its X5 sport activity vehicles.
BMW Canada issued a congratulatory tweet in the immediate aftermath of Andreescu’s win on Saturday, while Belcourt told The Message there are plans underway to work with the star upon her return to Canada.
— BMW Canada (@bmwcanada) September 7, 2019
“Andreescu will certainly be a hot endorsement property in Canada with her potential and personality,” says van Dijk, although he notes that international deals “will probably take more time,” since she is not yet a household name among tennis fans.