|Venue: All England Club Events: June 27 – July 10|
|Cover: Live on BBC TV, radio and online with extensive coverage on BBC iPlayer, Red Button, Connected TVs and mobile app.|
Emma Raducanu’s agent insists the US Open champion is not distracted by commercial interests.
Max Eisenbud, who also oversaw the careers of Maria Sharapova and Li Na, says Raducanu’s win in New York sparked unprecedented interest in the corporate world.
And he claims his company IMG “kept millions of dollars off the table” by limiting Raducanu to a maximum of 18 sponsorship days per year.
“We could have done 50 days of shooting,” Eisenbud said told The Sports Desk Podcast.
“I’ve never seen so much excitement and companies wanting to do business with Emma after the US Open.”
Raducanu is a brand ambassador for nine companies, from Evian to Tiffany and Nike to HSBC.
The contracts have a term of three to five years and are worth tens of millions of pounds.
However, Raducanu’s year on the pitch has been less than profitable so far. The 19-year-old has won just eight of her 19 games so far this season and has picked up a string of minor injuries.
But Eisenbud says people shouldn’t make the connection between these difficulties and their commercial interests.
“It’s been a tough year,” he admitted. “I think she had a lot of bad luck and what really hurt her was [catching] Covid and didn’t have a great off-season and then she played catch-up.
“But I think if she had zero filming dates, everything would be the same.
“I know on the outside that you guys want to look at all these things – but if she locked herself in the room all year and didn’t do anything, I think it would be the same.”
Eisenbud says this is his third professional experience with something “spectacular, special — and not normal.”
The other two were 17-year-old Sharapova, who defeated Serena Williams in the 2004 Wimbledon final, and Li, who was watched by an estimated 116 million Chinese viewers as she won her first Grand Slam title at the 2011 French Open.
Eisenbud recalls renting a room to meet Sharapova’s father, Yuri, shortly after her 2004 triumph on Center Court. He says Yuri wanted to capitalize on his daughter’s win but also make sure she stays focused and keeps winning.
The American’s response was to create a calendar and then draw a line through all the weeks – mainly before, during and immediately after a tournament – when they both agreed there was no time for commercial work.
“So we did this exercise year-round and found that she can probably give sponsorships 18 days a year that doesn’t affect her tennis practice or her tournament schedule,” Eisenbud said of a player who’s been around for a decade consistently highest earning female athlete in the world.
A few years later, Li’s family decided they liked the sound of this approach, and it’s a model that the Raducanus have now approved of.
“Same philosophy again,” Eisenbud continued. “Never about a week before a tournament, never in a tournament week and never right after the tournament. I can see how people who don’t understand this philosophy might think it gets distracted by it, but I think given the way it’s set up, that really isn’t the case.
“Emma decided she wanted to start her shoots at 12 or 1pm and go until 8 or 9pm and have the option in the morning to either work out or work out or do some fitness.
“Not all days of the 18 were used. There are sponsors who have these days, but many of them don’t use them.
“I would imagine she will be around 13 days by the end of the year.
“But when day 19 comes and it’s millions of dollars and you have to say ‘no’ because you’re sticking to 18 days — it’s tough.”