Sports Biz with Darren Rovell

The New "Ana" of Tennis

Ana Ivanovic

If you haven’t heard about her, let me introduce you. Her name is Ana Ivanovic and she might have been taking the torch over when she waxed Maria Sharapova 6-2, 6-1 in the semis of the French Open today. If she beats Justin Henin (no longer Hardenne) on Saturday, the world will know about her like they knew about Maria when she won Wimbledon three years ago and they’ll be searching YouTube for video calendars like this one.

The corporate world is a little bit down on tennis right now, but if I were a sports marketer, I’d take the jump on the Ivanovic bandwagon right now. Sharapova hasn’t won a tournament all year and someone smart could get Ivanovic at a quarter of the price.

According to her Web site www.anaivanovic.comthe 19-year-old Serbian only has sponsorship deals with Adidas, Wilson, Serbian bank Findomestic and Juice Plus, a vitamin and mineral supplement. She also apparently did a TV advertisement at some point for something called Aqua Viva.

Ivanovic is definitely a rising star. She has moved up in the rankings every year from No. 705 in 2003 to No. 14 last year. Yet, until now, she’s actually been under the radar. Consider the fact that, as of my writing this, there are only 22 items (and only five total bids) on Ivanovic memorabilia. After this weekend, there could be hundreds.

Today, during her match with Sharapova on ESPN2, Mary Carillo offered some good insight on Ivanovic: "She's burned off a lot of the baby fat that she was carrying years ago."

News & Notes:
We knew LeBron was marketable, but it’s amazing how quickly the folks at Adidas mobilized to capitalize on Daniel Gibson, who scored 31 points for the Cavaliers in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals. I received two “Shoot, Boobie, Shoot” shirts in the mail today.

CBS Corporation announced yesterday it invested an undisclosed sum in TicketRESERVE, the privately-held online marketplace that gives consumers the ability to buy tickets to events at face value.

SCP Auctions & Sotheby’s sold $4.7 million worth of sports cards and memorabilia. Items included Willis Reed’s 1969-70 New York Knicks Jersey ($90,000) and Casey Stengel’s 1951 New York Yankees World Series ring ($180,000).

Questions?  Comments?