Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Juice Plus Executive Finances 14-Year Old Croatian Tennis Player, Gets Endorsement Deal and Management Contract in Return
How did the face of rising women’s tennis star Ana Ivanovic recently end up on a Juice Plus brochure? The answer, in a nutshell, is that Ivanovic was roped into an endorsement deal by a European Juice Plus executive who, years earlier, had become her financier and manager.
News reports describe that Ivanovic, now 20 years old, was an unknown, cash-strapped, junior women’s tennis player in Croatia when she first met Dan Holzmann, a chief executive of NSA AG, a European subsidiary of National Safety Associates. Holzmann’s holding company purchased NSA’s German and Swiss subsidiaries in 1996 from the parent company NSA International, Inc. (based in Tennessee) for the sum of $1.5 million paid over 7 years.
At the age of 14, Ivanovic, whose manager at the time was facing bankruptcy, visited Holzmann at his home in Basel, Switzerland for a meeting. According to Holzmann, he saw a driven, talented young athlete who also "had the personality and looks to nudge any other princess from the marketing throne". Holzmann said, “Ivanovic was grateful, to a fault, for some smaller favors,” adding that “she was overcome once when he gave her $100 in pocket money, and never used it.” After that first meeting, Holzmann admitted “I was smitten at that moment”.
Soon after their initial meeting in Switzerland, Holzmann agreed to finance Ivanovic and manage her career. At the time, Holzmann was 32 and Ivanovic was 15 and he had never managed a tennis player. Over the next few years Holzmann provided Ana with funds and covered all of her expenses; an investment that reportedly totaled about $500,000. However, Holzmann stated:
“She paid back everything. I’m in plus now, not in the minus--not in minus--she paid back and she paid back much more than that or lets say her business paid back much more than that. It took her about two years to pay the money back.”
Juice Plus advertising brochures featuring Ivanovic’s picture began appearing in 2007. To date, we are unaware of any Juice advertising in which Ivanovic claims to actually use or support the use of the products.
- NSA AG Homepage.
- NSA International, Inc.: 8-K (9/2/96) -- SEC File 0-19487/Accession Number 950144-96-6409. Securities and Exchange Commission; September 17, 1996.
- DeSimone, B. Ivanovic working on the complete package. ESPN; June 8, 2007.
- Robson, D. Ivanovic sets stage for success in US Open. USA Today; July 15, 2007.
- Thirty-something benefactor credited with bankrolling Ana Ivanovic career. Sport by Brooks.
- DH Management AG Homepage.
- Rovell, D. Ana Ivanovic: last post for now (but maybe not!). CNBC Sportsbiz; August 28, 2007