Nishikori's U.S. Open tour de force lands marketing windfalls for lucky few
By Chang-Ran Kim
TOKYO (Reuters) - Kei Nishikori's trail-blazing wins for Japanese tennis in the U.S. Open over the past week are landing big marketing victories for sponsors including a fashion retailer and a watch brand as surprised as anyone at his historic feat.
The 24-year-old became the first male player from Asia to advance to any grand slam final after beating Novak Djokovic before a disbelieving crowd at the Arthur Ashe Stadium on Saturday.
The surprise win over the world number one has lifted sales at sponsor Fast Retailing, owner of the Uniqlo casualwear brand. Even a non-sponsor like racket maker Yonex Co saw its shares reach multi-year highs.
Uniqlo's line of Kei Nishikori polo shirts with its red-and-white logo patch has sold out in Japan. The only item left in its online store for Nishikori's U.S. Open line on Monday were a pair of white track pants.
Swiss watch brand TAG Heuer, owned by LVMH, is also a sponsor.
Japanese pay-TV operator Wowow Inc, which caught national broadcasters flat-footed by securing exclusive rights to air all matches over the two-week tournament, is also reaping rewards from Nishikori's victory.
"We've had more than 10 times the number of queries for our service compared to the same time last year," Wowow spokesman Osamu Sakiyama said. "We've never seen anything like this."
He declined to disclose the number of sign-ups that Wowow has had over the past week, when Nishikori made headlines by becoming the first Japanese to reach the quarter-finals and semi-finals in almost a century. Subscription data for September will be announced in early October. Continued...