World's No. 7 making marketing headway

Originally Published: September 2, 2004
By Darren Rovell | ESPN.com

NEW YORK -- For those who want to hit like Maria Sharapova, her racket -- The Turbo Shark MP -- went on sale Wednesday. For those who want to smell like Maria Sharapova, well, that's coming soon.

An informed source told ESPN.com that Sharapova will soon be unveiling a fragrance line. When reached early Thursday morning, Sharapova's agent Max Eisenbud declined to comment.

Sharapova has clearly become the marketing darling of the tennis world since winning Wimbledon. At the U.S. Open, Nike has been selling the outfits she is wearing at the gift shops and posters of her are all over Prince's on-site display.

However, her recent marketing deals -- including a three-year deal with Motorola that sources say is worth more than $1 million per year and now the fragrance -- have pointed to the fact that the 17-year-old Russian beauty is already on her way to transcending the sport.

Inking out-of-sport endorsements are usually reserved for the elite, but at No. 7 in the world, the buzz is building. Sharapova won her first-round U.S. Open match in three sets on Tuesday night and also won her first-round mixed doubles match, with Max Miryni, in front of a big crowd on Wednesday.

Sharapova wouldn't be setting a precedent in debuting her own line of scented products.

None other than NBA superstar Michael Jordan debuted a cologne in 1996. Sales reportedly reached $130 million in the product's first two years on the market. The NBA and the NFL have also had league-licensed scents on the market.

Darren Rovell, who covers sports business for ESPN.com, can be reached at Darren.rovell@espn3.com.

Darren Rovell | email

ESPN.com Sports Business reporter

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