American, 25, Tennis
The effervescent star who radiates positivity
Representatives: TLA Worldwide
Key partners: Nike, Head, Mercedes-Benz USA, Colgate, doTerra International
Fans and brands are starting to sit up and take notice of Sloane Stephens - and not only because she’s finally claimed her maiden grand slam title. In January, the reigning US Open champion ditched Under Armour, her long-time apparel sponsor, to join Nike - a switch that put her alongside her great compatriot Serena Williams in the company’s tennis stable. She has since followed up that deal by signing endorsement contracts with the likes of Mercedes-Benz USA, Colgate and doTerra International.
Currently ranked three in the world, Stephens has put the rollercoaster days of her early career firmly behind her. Now, she’s simply having fun, winning tournaments across the globe and inspiring young girls to do the same. For sponsors, this always-smiling American is just the right mix of clean-cut charisma and unabashed optimism.
In John Tobias, Stephens has one of the best agents in tennis charting her personal brand strategy. Only time will tell whether she can add more major crowns to her cabinet, but her future results on the court may not be a determinant of off-court success. The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) remains by far the most commercially developed property for female athletes and the effervescent Stephens is among its most engaging and likeable figures. ML