Sharapova’s Brand Takes Hit After Failed Drug Test
Maria Sharapova had built one of the top brands in tennis, racking up an impressive list of sponsors and partners to go along with five Grand Slam titles. But that took a major hit last week and those implications may have long-lasting effects.
The Russian tennis star announced last week that she failed a drug test at the Australian Open in January, and is expected to face a lengthy suspension from the International Tennis Federation. This is on the heels of Russia coming under fire last November after news broke of an organized doping scandal.
The country has been fighting hard to not be banned from this year’s Olympic Games in Rio and will likely hear of its fate in May. But Russia’s attempts to save its Olympic dreams might have taken a big blow when the Sharapova news broke, as it also puts her status for the 2016 Summer Olympics in jeopardy.
Sharapova is already feeling the heat after losing a number of sponsors. Once seen as marketable and fierce tennis player, sponsors like Nike, Porsche and TAG Heuer, which had a 12-year relationship with Sharapova, have ended their ties with her in the wake of the drug failure news and it could be the beginning of what could be a nightmare situation. She was heavily criticized on social media and as the investigation continues, her marketable image could be further tarnished. It could also mean a loss of additional sponsors.
It will also be interesting to see what effect the failure for Sharapova, a silver medalist at the 2012 Olympic games, has on Russia’s fight to get in the Summer Games. With a third place medal count in the last Olympiad, Russia has consistently been a fierce competitor at the games and it not being involved this summer would certainly have an impact in Rio.
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