Sources: Three-year deal worth nearly $6M
Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova is quickly emerging as one of the world's most marketable female athletes.
Sharapova has added Canon to her marketing roster, which has expanded rapidly since her Wimbledon victory in July. Sources tell ESPN.com that her three-year deal with Canon is worth nearly $6 million, slightly surpassing the deal that the 17-year-old signed with Motorola in August.
Sharapova's deal with Canon is unique because it is a worldwide deal that will have her promoting many of the company's products, from digital cameras to office supplies to printers.
"I really enjoy being ahead of the latest trends in fashion and technology, and I'm excited to be working with Canon," Sharapova said in a statement Monday. "Technology plays such a big part in all aspects of my life, and the Canon relationship is a natural one for me."
Sharapova also has deals with Nike, Prince and Speedminton, a game that combines tennis, badminton and racquetball, and a perfume carrying her name is on the way. She has been referred to by sports marketers as the "Anna Kournikova who can win." Kournikova, a non-winner on the WTA Tour, was ranked as high as eighth in the world. Sharapova is currently sixth.
Despite Sharapova's attachment to Canon, she is not expected to replace Andre Agassi, who is still under contract with the brand.
Agassi became famous for the line "Image Is Everything" in Canon commercials. But in 2000, he told a reporter that it was a mistake to attach himself to that slogan.
"I think that phrase itself wasn't reflective of who I was, even then," Agassi told the Cincinnati Enquirer. "It's sad to say, even in saying the line and filming the campaign, it never quite occurred to me what was being said or expressed. Some lessons you have to learn a tough way. That certainly was one of them."
Sharapova, who withdrew from the just-completed Advanta Championships because of a recurring strained shoulder injury -- she had reached the semifinal round -- is one of eight players scheduled to play at the season-ending WTA Tour Championship this week in Los Angeles. The winner will make $1 million.
Darren Rovell, who covers sports business for ESPN.com, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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