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Global Tennis Sponsorship Spending Slows In 2008

Reuters, August 29, 2008

Reporting by Ben Klayman

CHICAGO - Global spending on tennis sponsorships in 2008 is expected to rise at a lower rate than the year before due to the sluggish economy and fallout in the financial services sector, a firm that tracks such spending said on Friday.

Sponsorship spending on amateur and pro tennis tournaments, leagues and sanctioning bodies will total $573.5 million this year, up 8 percent from 2007, according to Chicago-based IEG, which is owned by advertising giant WPP Group Plc.

That growth rate is down from a 10 percent increase in 2007, and below the 17.9 percent growth rate IEG previously projected for global spending on all sports sponsorships this year. The IEG Sponsorship Report pointed out that the financial sector has been one of tennis's more active sponsors.

However, IEG said there are positive signs for 2009, pointing to reports about talks with three companies to replace Daimler AG's Mercedes brand as the ATP Tour's major sponsor. London-based insurer Aviva Plc is reportedly considering a multiyear deal valued at more than $100 million, IEG said.

In addition, the Association of Tennis Professionals has signed a new five-year partnership deal with Barclays Plc and extended its ties with South African Airways for three-and-a-half years, IEG said. Both deals, worth a combined $55 million, start in 2009.

Danone Waters of America, a unit of French food group Danone, this year signed a five-year deal with the U.S. Tennis Association for its Evian water brand, IEG said.