Naomi Osaka Still Landes Lucrative Sponsorship Deals Despite “Personal Breakup” Canberra weather

sport, tennis, Naomi Osaka, Tennis, George Williams, Canberra Raiders, Wigan, Ricky Stuart, Serve

As sports journalists, it’s not uncommon for our inboxes to be bombarded with mind-numbing sales pitches from PR firms working on behalf of big brands. These emails are usually deleted quickly before they are even opened, but very occasionally one of them tends to pique our interest. I’m referring to an email that arrived earlier this week announcing that women’s tennis star Naomi Osaka had signed an, arguably, financially lucrative deal with a large electronics company. The announcement comes just weeks after she announced she was stepping away from tennis to take “personal time.” It’s been a big week for Osaka, who took another moment of his personal time a few days ago to tweet about a recent photoshoot that got him on the cover of a magazine in Japan. Despite all those recent forays into the limelight which she said a few weeks ago were taking a toll on her sanity, Osaka still won’t be in the Wimbledon draw next week. Now please let me clarify a few things. Osaka is a brilliant tennis player and has one of the most authentic personalities in the world of sports. And when she says she’s suffered from depression since winning the 2018 US Open, you have to believe her. (I can’t help but wonder if things could have been different if Serena Williams hadn’t behaved so appallingly in the post-final loss). Mental illness in athletes, even those who earn tens of millions of dollars a year from endorsements, is real and must be respected. But it’s understandable that a bitter taste sticks in your mouth when someone in the Osaka echelon decides they no longer want to face a mandatory post-game press conference. Especially when it causes her to fully withdraw from two Grand Slam tournaments (we still hope she plays at the Tokyo Olympics next month in her home country). Is holding a press conference really such a price to pay? PLUS CANBERRA SPORT Of course, she must wade through the mud of the often stupid questions that come to her from a certain race of journalists who are looking for nothing more than a take worthy of being broadcast. But it’s also a platform that she can use to “look beyond tennis to share her perspective on what a better society would look like in her own words,” as the company said. email in its statement this week explaining why they were so keen on Osaka’s partner. The press release went on to say that the founder of the company “considered that a stable state of happiness comes only when mental stability and material prosperity are guaranteed.” As one of the most marketable athletes in the world, Osaka has already secured its material prosperity, seemingly at the expense of its battle with depression. For the majority of people with mental disorders, the same cannot be said. They can’t afford to take a little “personal time” and hope that it all goes away because they can’t win seven-figure fortnightly prizes or secure lucrative sponsorship deals. This is where a serious disconnect develops between the professional athlete and the adoring public, and quite often the press conference is the only intermediary between the two. And here’s the point. Without the media, there would be no world sports superstars. We know Osaka and its exploits because they are shown in our living rooms through TV broadcasting deals that often cost billions of dollars. Because we read about his talents in the newspapers, and because we hear about his success on the radio. Athletes can leverage their profiles created by real media to create a global social media presence. Without media, there are no broadcast dollars, a lot less sponsorship and a significant reduction in prices. You can’t have both.



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