This article is a summary of, “How Tennis Is Becoming More Like NASCAR,” written by Merlisa Lawrence Corbett. To read the full article, click here.
On the surface, professional tennis and NASCAR could not seem more different. Tennis requires a player, a racquet and a ball; NASCAR requires a driver, and a stock car.
But when one delves beneath the act of playing the sport itself, the two become more alike.
One major similarity between the two is individual sponsorships. Sponsorships have always been a huge part of NASCAR. Players start to become associated with the brands, such as Jeff Gordon and Dupont. Recently, tennis players have joined this sponsorship bandwagon. Professional tennis players are usually representing two to four brands every time they step on the court. When Li Na won the 2014 Australian Open, she accepted her trophy while sporting a Nike shirt with a Mercedes Benz logo. People should definitely expect to see more brands associated with professional tennis players in the future.
Each player has their own team as well. NASCAR drivers have their pit crews, and tennis players have their coach, trainer, physical therapist, and psychologist.
The sports both have a points system that allows qualifying athletes to compete in competitions at the end of each year. In professional tennis, these competitions are known as Year End Championships. In NASCAR, if an athlete qualifies, they will be competing in the Race for the Cup.
Both NASCAR and professional tennis have a few stand out athletes that receive most of the attention. Players like Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Maria Sharapova and drivers like Jeff Gordon, and Jimmie Johnson are the ones who are featured in commercials, and get the best sponsorships. Often times, other athletes struggle to afford travel expenses.
The two sports really start their season with one main event. The Australian Open acts as an unofficial beginning to the new tennis season just as the Daytona 500 marks the beginning of the NASCAR season.
Another similarity between the two is – the season seems to last all year. In fact, the WTA tour lasts from January to October. This is similar in NASCAR. When one season ends, the next season begins. Many fans and players find the length of these seasons excessive.