Late last week, News Ltd journalist Leo
Schlink, who has close ties to Team Hewitt, wrote a perplexing story about how
Hewitt had decided to quit Nike as his major clothing sponsor. As a consequence, a
bidding war has broken out among other leading tennis clothing manufacturers to
win his services.

“Hewitt is being frantically courted by a string of global
heavyweights who view the 24-year-old baseliner as the perfect promotional
tool,” Schlink informed his readers.

But what effect will Hewitt’s verbal
and courtside behavioural excesses in the Davis Cup have on Nike as it considers
its sponsorship renewal options?

When the Nike deal was struck in 2000, it was estimated by “industry sources” to be worth somewhere between $27
and $30 million for five years plus bonuses. At the time, it was said to be
the biggest individual endorsement contact in Australian sporting history.

So in the labyrinthine commercial
world of sports endorsement politics, was Hewitt too hot under his former Nike collar for some to
touch? Read the full story on the site here.

Peter Fray

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