Big brands should let Emma Raducanu just enjoy the game

Three cheers for Adrian Chiles’s eloquent plea (Must Emma Raducanu become a brand? Let’s just enjoy her genius, 16 settembre) for Emma Raducanu to be allowed to develop her profile as an outstanding tennis talent, unencumbered by obligations to her sponsors and by the demands of the leech-like hangers-on from the marketing and media sectors, all of whom are out to make a fast buck on the back of her efforts on court.

As a sports enthusiast of many years’ standing, there is nothing more depressing than an outstanding sporting performance being immediately followed by the usual interview, and the subsequent scramble on the part of the athlete to ensure the relevant watch is readily visible/the sponsored golf cap is front and centre/the ski manufacturer’s logo is prominent.

As Chiles rightly states, the sports enthusiast has little interest in whatever side deals are done by teams or individuals – what matters is the impact of genuine sporting talent, performance and inspiration. Let’s hope his plea is heard by Ms Raducanu and those who genuinely have her interests at heart, and by those who follow in her footsteps.
Phil Murray
Linlithgow, West Lothian

Adrian Chiles seems to make the same mistake as the PR firms in believing that building an athlete’s personal brand is all about the money.

sì, a strong personal brand attracts money from endorsements, but also the power to speak out and marshal others in support of causes you believe in. Roger Federer’s deals with Rolex, per esempio, have contributed to funding his philanthropic education foundation. Marcus Rashford’s brand power has attracted other brands, such as Sainsbury’s, to work with him on combating child food poverty.

Ma ancora più importante, given what we’ve seen about how the popular media can treat young women, taking control of her image and managing her personal brand is a strategic move on Emma Raducanu’s part. Come the inevitable day when media comments turn nasty (already foreshadowed in recent “concern trolling”), her brand and commercial power will provide protection, allowing her indeed to “fight her battles on the court”, and concentrate on playing dazzling tennis.
Paul Temporal
Oxford

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