Title: Celebrity athletes and athletic clothing design: branding female tennis players

Authors: Norman J. O'Reilly, L. Anne Braedley

Addresses: School of Sports Administration, Faculty of Management, Laurentian University, 935 Ramsey Lake Road, Sudbury, ON, P3E 2C6, Canada. ' School of Fashion, Ryerson University, 40 Gould Street, Toronto, ON, M5B 2K3, Canada

Abstract: Interest in celebrities and their lifestyles makes the clothing they wear an important part of their image. Due to their influence on markets, celebrity athletes are no longer simply product endorsers; many are now also involved in product design. The present study adopts both expert interviews and observation methodologies to explore the celebrity athlete–clothing relationship in high-profile female tennis players. A content analysis of the 2005 Wimbledon Championships and interviews with experts in both the sport marketing and fashion industries provided for the development of a model that articulates the interactions between the celebrity athlete, the label, the market, and the clothing the athlete wears during competition. Results outline the important connection between celebrity athletes, their clothing and the tennis audience. Applicability to practice and impetus for future research are provided.

Keywords: brand; sport; celebrity athletes; celebrity clothing; fashion design; female tennis players; Wimbledon; clothing design; women tennis players; product design; sport marketing; fashion labels; tennis audience.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSMM.2008.015964

International Journal of Sport Management and Marketing, 2008 Vol.3 No.1/2, pp.119 - 139

Published online: 02 Dec 2007 *

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