Andy Murray’s Wimbledon success has earned him superstar status in Britain but he is only just realising his global commercial potential, experts believe.
The world No 2 had been one of the game’s top earners and most recognisable faces prior to the weekend, having won the US Open among six previous grand slam final appearances.
Sunday’s victory at Wimbledon, an event that resonates with a much wider public in Britain, will enhance that considerably as it was the first by a home hope in the men’s singles for 77 years. Yet, on a world scale, it could be just the start of something even bigger.
Steve Martin, chief executive of M&C Saatchi Sport and Entertainment, said yesterday: “If you look at the viewing figures of 17 million – that is unheard of now.
“It has put him into a legendary status within the British Isles and it is pretty remarkable what he has done.
“But not to put a dampener on him, globally it is the next rung. There is still a gap for me from Andy Murray to Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. They are total legends with multiple grand slams and they cut across all corners of the earth.
“Commercially this will work brilliantly for Murray. There is no question his appeal for brand and sponsors will go up.
“Hopefully over the next few years he will start to pick up more grand slams and his appeal will broaden.
“He has every chance but to win Wimbledon in that way and that style, his life has changed overnight. To the British audience in particular, he has gone to superstar status within 24 hours.”
Murray already has strong commercial deals with Head, adidas, Rado and RBS.
There could now be a huge clamour from other brands to join that portfolio but there might be more to come as a result of future performances too.
Murray, 26, beat his friend and contemporary Novak Djokovic, the world No 1, to win at the All England Club and the pair’s rivalry could colour the next great era in tennis.
Martin said: “If he does win a few more grand slams it could be an amazingly strong era for him and Novak Djokovic to battle it out for number one and two. That brings incredible potential on court. With partners off court, it is a significant commercial number you are going to hit.
“I don’t like plucking out figures, but over time you could see him being a 50 million- dollar man easily.”
With Murray’s profile set to soar, the role of his management company XIX Entertainment will take on even greater significance. The company manages the affairs of some of the world’s biggest celebrities, with the Beckhams, Lewis Hamilton and Jennifer Lopez among its clients.
Nigel Currie, director of sports marketing agency Brand Rapport, said: “Tennis is one of the most global sports.
“To be in the top one or two in that sport creates huge possibilities from a marketing point of view. You get your face and name recognised in almost every country.
“That makes the global brand become very interested. They can reach huge audiences by using sports stars as ambassadors. On the back of this his earnings could head towards £12-£15m a year.
“It is that significant and there will be lots of bonuses that kick in from sponsors. There will be new contracts with global brands to be secured in the coming months.”
As the PR demands increase and need to be fitted around Murray’s playing and training schedule, strategies will come into play. Martin said: “You wouldn’t want to saturate him and make him too accessible.
“He is high demand but doesn’t need to do everything all the time. That is part of the brand building. And there are elements of his personality that can still come through. I’d still like to see him smile more.”