Tennis star Maria Sharapova has agreed an endorsement deal with credit and payment card company American Express.
Sharapova and American Express will launch the partnership at the forthcoming U.S. Open, where the Russian player will feature in a virtual reality interactive game, You vs Sharapova.
Fans will have the opportunity to try and return a virtual Sharapova serve, swinging a racket linked to the virtual reality computer game. The activation also forms part of American Express’ sponsorship of the U.S. Open, which will enter its 21st year later this month.
Sharapova’s deal with American Express is her first in the financial services category, and adds the firm to a portfolio featuring Nike, Head, Porsche, Tag Heuer, Evian and Avon. The 28-year-old stands to earn in excess of $25m (€22.67m) this year through endorsements and prize money, according to ESPN.com.
The terms of Sharapova’s partnership with American Express were not disclosed, but the Wall Street Journal reports that it is for a two-year term. The world No.2 player will also be the face of an extensive American Express advertising campaign throughout the duration of the contract.
According to figures collected by WPP’s Kantar Media, American Express spent $7.7m on its sponsorship of the grand slam tournament last year, second only to the $8.2m outlay by automotive manufacturer Mercedes Benz among U.S. Open partners.