Four-time Grand Slam singles tennis champion Noami Osaka, 24, is making significant moves in terms of her career. She recently announced that she is ending her professional relationship of six years with IMG, a global sports talent management company, and branching out to establish her own sports agency, Evolve, with her sports agent, Stuart Duguid, according to Sportico.
“I’ve spent my career doing things my way, even when people told me that it wasn’t what was expected or traditional, Evolve is the natural next step in my journey as both an athlete and businesswoman,” Osaka said to the outlet.
Both Osaka and Duguid share an equity stake in the company without the help of investors, according to Cassius.
“I’m excited to start this with my business partner Stuart and our plan is to use the same approach we took in building my businesses authentically and strategically as a vision for this company,” Osaka continued. “I strongly believe in the power athletes have to use our platforms to drive meaningful business.”
Last year, Osaka raked in close to $60 million, earning approximately $55 million from corporate endorsement deals. She tied for 12th place on Forbes List with golf champion Tiger Woods, Forbes reports.
Duguid disclosed when Osaka was competing in the Tokyo Olympics sparked the idea of the bespoke agency, according to Cassius.
“We were discussing the business models of some of her mentors like Kobe and LeBron. We thought – why has no transcendent female athlete done that yet,” said Duguid. “It’s athlete-driven and focused on big picture brand building rather than quick checks with a commission attached.”
Entrepreneurship is not uncharted waters for Osaka. In 2021, she launched her skincare line, KINLÒ, and initiated her Play Academy program in 2020, aiming to empower girls and young women through sports, according to People.
“We believe that all kids — especially girls — deserve a chance to play, no matter where they come from or what they look like,” Osaka told the outlet in 2021.
“The more we provide girls with opportunities to get active, the more opportunities we are giving them to become leaders in their communities.”
“For me, building Play Academy was not just about impacting others and encouraging young girls in sports; it is about raising awareness, and so creating a website shines a light on the work we do,” said Osaka to People about Play Academy’s website launch.