Nadal won the French Open tennis tournament this year. But after his victory he returned to his hotel room to find the £240,000 watch he had been modelling in France for a fashion brand, had been stolen.
The watch was retrieved in the end and the thief identified. But what is interesting to me is just how much of a priority advertising, modelling and sponsorship is to the young Spanish tennis ace.
In metrosexual culture, sports stars, especially the men, are not just athletes and competitors. They are also ‘brands’ themselves, and they spend a lot of time and energy securing work making money advertising products and being sponsored by big companies.
Federer advertises Rolex, Beckham advertises anything he can, Djokovic advertises HEAD sports equipment.
Nadal’s ‘metrosexy’ earnings and work are so important to him that he did not compete in the Queens tennis tournament in London recently, because British tax laws mean he would lose too much of his sponsorship cash as a result of his participation in the competition.
And Tom Daley’s coach a few months ago expressed concern that the young diver does too much media work, which takes him away from training.
This is all interesting, not least because the ‘received wisdom’ is that it is women and women sports stars who are ‘objectified’ in our culture, and who are treated as glamorous models and objects of desire. When in fact, the men are developing careers in ‘passive display’ that seem to be equally important to them as their sports.
Some links about these stories here:
Metrosexual references here: