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Sponsorship Of Tennis Events And Sanctioning Bodies To Total $430 Million In 2004

September 13, 2004: Spending to Rise in ’04 Despite Sponsor Defections from Pro Tennis’ Premier Event

For More Information Contact:
William Chipps, IEG, LLC, Tel: 312/944-1727

Chicago, Ill.—Despite recent defections by several key sponsors of the sport’s premier U.S. event, sponsorship of professional and amateur tennis is on the rise.

Companies based in North America are expected to spend $430 million on tennis events and sanctioning bodies in 2004, up from $400 million in 2003, according to IEG Sponsorship Report, the world’s leading authority on sponsorship.

While tennis remains a viable marketing platform for companies looking to reach an affluent audience, yesterday’s close of the U.S. Open also brought to an end sponsorships by Fila and Lincoln Mercury. Their decision not to renew indicates the growing challenge faced by high-profile televised properties offering visibility, hospitality and a limited promotional window.

“Corporate marketers are increasingly looking past impressions in favor of nontraditional marketing programs offering more impact benefits. Television exposure and prestigious hospitality just doesn’t carry the same weight it used to,” said William Chipps, senior editor, IEG Sponsorship Report.

Ford, for example, swapped Lincoln Mercury’s sponsorship of the U.S. Open in favor of a three-year deal with New York City’s Time Warner Center, a program that provides year-round on-site exposure. Beginning next month, Lincoln’s on-site display will be staffed by “concierges” who can electronically schedule test drives at Lincoln’s 1,300 dealerships across the country.

Similarly, Pepsi-Cola North America opted out of its multi-year deal with the U.S. Open after last year’s event in favor of sports properties that can be leveraged at retail.
“Companies are looking for sponsorships that can be activated among all stakeholders and help build the bottom line,” Chipps added.

In addition to automotive companies, other active sponsors of professional and amateur tennis events include watch manufacturers, jewelry retailers, high-end spirits, airlines and financial service and insurance companies.