Upper Deck already has some of the biggest names in sports under exclusive autograph deals. Now, they’ve added the greatest women’s tennis player of all-time. On Thursday, the company announced what it called “a multi-year” arrangement with Serena Williams.
Upper Deck will produce authenticated memorabilia and release limited-edition prints with Williams’ autograph and image. Looking to capitalize on Williams’ appearances upcoming major tennis events, several items are now online, ranging from $800 for 24×20 signed images to $10,000 for dual-signed shoes featuring the autographs of Williams and fellow Upper Deck exclusive, Michael Jordan.
Other items created by Upper Deck for Williams include ‘The Show,’ an 18″ x 36″ image that features the largest Williams signature ever produced. On the docket is a four-foot wide ‘Legends of Sports’ piece that will be co-signed by Jordan and Tiger Woods. Another is Williams’ actual handprint surrounded by an assortment of images from her career.
The younger of the two tennis playing Williams sisters, Serena is the holder of 23 Grand Slam singles titles, 14 Grand Slam women’s doubles titles and four mixed doubles titles. She also has won Olympic gold on four occasions.
“I love my fans. They support me through everything, and I want them to know how much I appreciate them,” stated Williams. “I want to show them that appreciation by giving something unique, and I feel like the least I can do is sign something that will bring them joy. Working with Upper Deck allows me to achieve that on a grand scale.”
Williams has spent more time off the court than in competition as of late, but is back in action after the birth of her first child. She has been training and is expected to play in the 2018 French Open at Roland Garros in just over two weeks.
Williams has been ranked No. 1 on eight separate occasions by the Women’s Tennis Association and now looks to balance her tennis career and business interests with a growing family. Her HBO documentary series that has been running this spring has been lauded by her fans and a diverse viewing audience.
“Serena is one of the greatest athletes of all time, and we couldn’t be more honored to embark on this journey with her as she steps back onto the court,” offers Jason Masherah, president of Upper Deck. “She is exactly the kind of athlete and role model that we have continually strived to align ourselves with throughout our 30-year history.”
The pairing of Williams with Jordan for autographed shoes isn’t random. When Williams captured Grand Slam singles title No. 23 at the 2017 Australian Open, one of her first congratulatory messages came from Jordan. The Hall of Fame guard presented Williams with a personalized colorway of the Nike Court Air Jordan shoes made specifically to match the shoes Williams normally wears on the court.
LeBron James, Wayne Gretzky, Connor McDavid and Ben Simmons are among other athletes with Upper Deck signing deals.