The 18-year-old Briton was almost unknown before reaching the fourth round this year. Wimbledon, having made around $ 40,000 since his senior debut three years ago.
After becoming Britain’s first Grand Slam champion for 44 years and the new golden girl of women’s tennis, Raducanu’s earning potential is ready to step into the stratosphere.
The $ 2.5 million he won in prizes for hitting his teenage partner Leylah Fernandez in a final that captivated the sports world it may soon seem like a loose change.
Raducanu’s mixed Romanian-Chinese heritage, dazzling game, and engaging personality make her the “golden brand,” according to a sports marketing expert.
She’s already a cover girl for the October issue of British Vogue, and major global brands in everything from fashion to cars to jewelry will be lining up at the gates of IMG, her management company.
“There is no limit to what you can achieve on the court,” Tim Lopez, director of sports marketing firm CSM, told Reuters on Monday.
“She is already in high demand, but if she continues with continued success in tennis majors, she will quickly become one of the most marketable athletes on the planet.”
With its global reach and fair exposure, tennis offers a path to wealth for the best female players in Japan. Naomi osaka earning $ 55 million, not including prize money, in the past year, according to Forbes magazine.
Of the 10 highest paid athletes in the world, nine are tennis players.
Lopez says Raducanu, whose mother Renee is Chinese, shares the same marketing appeal as Osaka, a four-time Grand Slam champion, whose mother is Japanese and father Haitian.
“If you use that as a yardstick, not just because of their professional background, but also because of their shared attractiveness and because they are both attractive and have mixed heritage backgrounds,” he said.
“That’s a huge benefit from a brand perspective, from an eye’s point of view, there’s no bigger market to go into.”
Raducanu’s rise from obscurity to having his face plastered on Times Square billboards will have sportswear brands vying for his signature. After Osaka won back-to-back Grand Slam titles in 2018 and 2019, Nike reportedly paid $ 10 million to take it away from rivals Adidas.
Raducanu’s appeal goes beyond the courts, according to Conrad Wiacek, head of sports analysis at GlobalData.
“His victory goes beyond tennis and sports in terms of marketability,” he told Reuters.
“One of the most impressive things to me was his message in Mandarin to the Chinese audience because the main problem Western sports stars have in breaking through China is the language barrier.
“The sky is the limit, as any Western brand that positions itself in China would consider it an ambassador.”
Wiacek expects Raducanu’s Nike endorsement deal to increase significantly and other endorsements will allow him to earn around $ 10 million over the next two years.
“With her Chinese and Eastern European heritage, as well as Great Britain, that puts her in a different stratosphere than other athletes,” he said. “I have seen that it has been said that she is a potential billion dollar athlete. That is a long way off.
“That’s based on consistency, but just in the next 12 months would I say that $ 5 million would be a realistic figure. Ultimately, the barometer of your business success will depend on your success on the tennis court.”
Raducanu is represented by super agent Max Eisenbud, who helped make Russian Maria Sharapova the highest-earning female athlete after she won Wimbledon at age 18, with off-court earnings of around $ 320.
However, the pitfalls in professional tennis are numerous with Osaka, another IMG athlete, struggling to cope with sudden fame and fortune.
Lopez says striking the right balance between activities on and off the court will be a key factor in Raducanu reaching his full potential.
“People should give the girl the opportunity to consolidate what she has done and not put too much pressure too soon,” he said.
“Focus on mental wellness, then sports wellness and financial rewards will certainly follow.”