Case | HBS Case Collection | May 2007 (Revised March 2010)

Maria Sharapova: Marketing a Champion (A)

by Anita Elberse and Margarita Golod

Abstract

In July 2004, a then 17-year-old Maria Sharapova won Wimbledon, arguably the most prestigious tennis tournament in the world. Max Eisenbud, Sharapova's agent at International Management Group (IMG), knew the championship would lead to a flood of new opportunities. What would be the best approach to the management and marketing of a champion like Maria Sharapova? Which of the various endorsement offers would be worthwhile to pursue? And how could Eisenbud best leverage the resources available to him at IMG? Allows for an in-depth examination of marketing issues and, more specifically, sports endorsement opportunities in the context of a world-class athlete. (As of 2006, Sharapova is one of the world's most recognized sports figures, and its highest compensated female athlete.) Provides unique insights into the world of "team Sharapova," consisting of Sharapova and her advisors at IMG, a leading sports, media, and entertainment agency. Contains rich data on the way in which IMG structures its sales process, and can serve to illustrate best practices and key trade-offs in sports or entertainment marketing initiatives.

Keywords: Marketing Strategy; Advertising; Gender Characteristics; Product Marketing; Sports Industry;

Citation:

Elberse, Anita, and Margarita Golod. "Maria Sharapova: Marketing a Champion (A)." Harvard Business School Case 507-065, May 2007. (Revised March 2010.)