“Let Me Buy You Dinner”: How Roger Federer Became an Active Partner in ‘On’ Sneakers

Published 09/17/2021, 1:47 PM EDT


As exceptional and graceful a player he is on-court, Swiss Maestro Roger Federer is also an intelligen businessman, who knows how to use his brand value to good effect and pique the interests of the general public. During last year, where he barely played any tennis, the former world no.1 became the world’s highest-paid athlete for the first time.

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Tennis – Wimbledon – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain – July 5, 2021 Switzerland’s Roger Federer in action during his fourth round match against Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego REUTERS/Paul Childs

Roger Federer is out of action for months as he had to undergo knee surgery post Wimbledon defeat

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While Federer’s future in tennis hangs in the balance as he announced that he would be undergoing yet another knee surgery after a quarter-final defeat to Hubert Hurkacz in Wimbledon Championships.

His brain-child Laver Cup is all set to kick-start its fourth edition from next Friday at the TG garden in Boston. In all likelihood, the Swiss star might not attend the event.

But, his presence will be felt by fans attending the tournament as both the brands that sponsor him(Uniqlo and On Running) have become the official life-wear and shoe-wear partners of the tournament.

Tennis – Wimbledon – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain – July 1, 2021 Switzerland’s Roger Federer celebrates winning his second round match against France’s Richard Gasquet REUTERS/Paul Childs

With the Japanese apparel brand Uniqlo, Federer has a ten-year deal which he signed in 2018 for a whopping $300 million. When it comes to On running shoes, the Swiss star shares a different story.

Launched in 2010 by three friends (Olivier Bernhard, David Allemann, and Caspar Coppetti), the running shoe brand slowly built a loyal fan base who were willing to pay a few more bucks to get comfortable sneakers for their running needs.

As the company began its IPO(Initial Public Offering) journey last Wednesday at the New York Stock Exchange, one of its co-founders David Allemann talked about how Federer came forward to invest in their idea.

Tennis – Wimbledon – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain – June 29, 2021 Switzerland’s Roger Federer leaves court after winning his first round match against Fance’s Adrian Mannarino REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

On Running founder shares how Federer came forward to partner them

Switzerland is a small country. At some point he called us and said, ‘Let me buy you dinner.’ And so we had dinner together, and he said,  ‘I’m a big fan of your product, everybody around me is wearing them'”, Allemann reflected.

After hearing a positive review from Switzerland’s favorite person, the three founders put forward a request asking Roger Federer to buy an active stake and become an entrepreneur along with them.

The 20-time grand slam champion invested an undisclosed amount and spent most of his lockdown at the On running laboratory, developing a prototype tennis shoe.

After On’s shares listing began at NYSE on Wednesday, Federer personally called to congratulate them on a stupendous achievement. The Swiss Maestro was all-praise for On running co-founders.

Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 5, 2021 Switzerland’s Roger Federer in action during his third round match against Germany’s Dominik Koepfer REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

“Headquartered so close to where I live” – Swiss Maestro on spending lockdown time in On Laboratory

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They are smart, really nice people with a passion for what they do.” Plus, he adds over email, “they are amazingly nimble–they adapted so quickly to the pandemic and the requirement to shift to e-commerce”, Federer said.

The former world no.1 also shared his experience of spending the lockdown at the On running laboratory.

It’s incredible that this wonderful company is headquartered so close to where I live. Because the pandemic forced me to be home so much for the last 18 months, I have had the opportunity to work with them much more than in normal times”, the Swiss star commented.

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From the success of the shoe-wear company, it seems evident that Roger Federer’s name certainly helped the sneaker brand to become what it is today as they have wide range of operations in USA, Europe, and Japan.

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Sagar Ashtakoula

473 articles

Sagar Ashtakoula is a tennis writer at EssentiallySports. He has been following the sport since 2007. Having developed an interest in creating content, he mixed his passion for writing with his love for tennis for 2 years at SportsKeeda before joining the tennis team at EssentiallySports.

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