There's one burning question hovering above all the talk about Roger Federer's sponsorship association with Credit Suisse, around that bank's gargantaun investments in fossil fuels.

Who's next?

Whatever you think of the campaign — and there are wildly differing views — it has been extremely successful.

The stories have been covered by news outlets across the globe, capturing an audience in a way that never could have been possible using more traditional methods of protest.


In our current news environment, such 'name and shame' tactics work beautifully, because it is headlines first, context later.

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Environmental activists, as well as those pushing other causes, will be combing through the endorsement lists of other prominent sports people, looking for associations and links that can be exploited.

It's not necessarily a new tactic, but is much more effective in a world fuelled by social media.

And those that wield rackets or bats, kick balls or carry golf clubs are the perfect target, because they cut through to almost every audience.

A protest against a bank, an insurance company, a fast food giant or a car maker has some impact, but it's always limited.

We care, but not that much, and such corporations are expert at batting away such criticism.

But align your protest with a sports star — well that's a different ball game.


They are supposed to be role models, and are often quick to support the cause du jour and make heartfelt speeches or gestures, so a negative association is hard to explain.

Individuals like Greta Thunberg, as we have seen with Federer, achieve massive cut through.

So as well as searching for more sports people to target, no doubt somewhere, someone, is currently researching the environmental impact of Rolex, Uniqlo, Barilla, Moet & Chandon and Federer's many other corporate partners, looking for more fuel to chuck on the fire.

At the same time, it's hard not to feel some sympathy for Federer, and there's some truth to his sentiment that his popularity has been exploited and "misused".

"When I help one person, I am criticised for not doing it with others," he said earlier this week. "I have reached a point where I have to think carefully about what I am doing."

It's natural for Federer to be defensive.

The tennis legend has set a new standard for philanthropy by sporting figures, with more than $US52 million ($81.4 million) raised by his foundation, mostly to support various charitable initiatives in six African countries.

And it's far from a token gesture; Federer started the foundation way back in 2003, when he was 22 years old with just one grand slam to his name.

Cynics will say that Federer has earned staggering sums over the years, which is true as his career prizemoney (around $200 million) is dwarfed by his endorsement income.

But there are also many footballers, basketballers, golfers, baseballers and Formula One drivers who rake in comparable amounts, but give little or nothing back.

And his Credit Suisse arrangement is neither new nor extraordinary.

He's a Swiss athlete sponsored by a Swiss bank, just as the All Blacks, Black Caps and Silver Ferns are supported by local financial institutions, and the 10 year deal was signed back in 2009.