By Barry Janoff
April 22, 2013: Tennis star Maria Sharapova wears TAG Hauer watches and jewelry from Tiffany, dresses in items from Nike and Cole Haan, drinks Evian water and uses electronics and other high-tech goodies from Samsung.
Now, we also know what drives Sharapova. Or, in this case, what she drives.
Sharapova, the No. 2 ranked women's tennis player in the world (behind Serena Williams), has signed a three-year deal to become Porsche's first global brand ambassador.
The alliance was unveiled Monday (April 22) at and in conjunction with the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Germany, which will be played this week indoors in the clay court Porsche Arena.
Financial terms were not disclosed. Sharapova is regarded as the top female athlete in the world when it comes to annual endorsement income, now taking in close to $20 million, according to industry analysts.
As winner of the 2012 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, Sharapova not only took home prize money but also a white 911 Carrera S Cabriolet. This year's title event is scheduled for April 28.
"So excited to announce my brand ambassador role with @Porsche today," Sharapova posted to her 186,000 Twitter followers. "A special brand to be partnering with. It's not easy keeping secrets :)"
She sent a similar message to her more than 9.8 million followers on Facebook.
Marketing specifics were not detailed, but Sharapova is expected to be featured in an upcoming multi-media campaign to include TV, print, outdoor, personal appearances, Internet and social media.
"Maria Sharapova is an exceptional athlete. She combines top performance in her sports with elegance and power," Matthias Mueller, Porsche CEO, said during a press conference held in the Porsche Museum. Sharapova received the top draw and a bye for the first round. "These are precisely the qualities that are embroiled in our sports cars."
"This is a really special day for me," said Sharapova, who in addition to the aforementioned marketing partners also runs Sugarpova, a line of premium gummy candies. "I have had the privilege to be associated with some of the best brands in the world, but now to be partners with Porsche, is such an amazing honor."
Sharapova previously had a deal with Ford's Land Rover, signed in 2006, which ended a couple of years later when Ford sold the brand.
Added Porche's Mueller, "Maria is the perfect choice. Her profile and charisma are an ideal fit for Porsche. She is also highly respected around the world and enjoys an outstanding reputation."
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