$11.5m Reported winning bid to become world No. 1 women's tennis player Naomi Osaka's clothing sponsor.
TOKYO • World No. 1 Naomi Osaka surprised industry watchers yesterday by signing an endorsement deal with Nike, switching from the American sports brand's biggest rival adidas.
It had been highly anticipated that adidas would pay a record sum to renew a clothing endorsement with the tennis star.
She grabbed global attention by becoming the first Japanese to win a major when she defeated 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams at the US Open last year. She then clinched her second Slam at the Australian Open in January.
Nike did not disclose how much it paid or terms of the deal, but The Times of London had reported the winning bidder for Osaka's clothing deal would pay about US$8.5 million (S$11.5 million).
The 21-year-old, whose mother is Japanese and father is Haitian-American, will start wearing Nike gear at the April 20-28 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Germany, the sportswear maker said on its website.
Osaka in a statement: "I'm proud to become a member of the Nike family and excited about getting involved in all of the opportunities Nike has to offer.
"Nike has a legendary track record of writing history and I look forward to being a part of those moments for many years to come."
Osaka's ascent has made her a hot marketable commodity for the world's top brands, as she is seen as someone with international appeal, especially for advertisers chasing younger, more diverse shoppers.
She already has deals with All Nippon Airways, carmaker Nissan, cosmetic brand Shiseido and watch company Citizen among others.
Nike vice-president Amy Montagne added in the statement: "Naomi is an incredible talent to add to our roster and help drive our commitment to inspiring a new generation of female athletes.
"We are thrilled to have her join our team."