Corporate Sponsorship in Tennis

14th November, 2008

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My interest in tennis started later in life than most, possibly because I always assumed that it was a sport for ‘the rich and famous’ until I took the plunge and joined my local tennis club. I was pleasantly surprised to find a social mixture of people from all walks of life and a thriving junior section from all the local schools.

Shortly after joining my local tennis club, I became involved in helping organise tennis tournaments and engaged the help of local companies,(Merrydown Cider, Peroni, Pizza Express, Galileos and Intersport,) in the form of sponsorship. In return, they gained a captive audience to sample their products and display advertising material around the grounds and premises to future customers. Therefore, both the tennis club and the sponsors were both ‘winners’ of the tournament.

Although I’ve been doing this on a local level it has, of course, been happening on a global level for many years.

Assurance and pensions company AEGON has also announced a deal which will see it become the first lead partner of British tennis with the launch of a commercial programme which will begin early next summer. The five year deal involves promoting tennis throughout schools as well as in parks. Steve Clode, Marketing Director of AEGON UK, said; "As the Lead Partner of British Tennis, AEGON has an exceptional opportunity to develop our brand in the UK market. People of all ages enjoy tennis, and it's one of the country's most exciting and fast growing sports. We're delighted to have secured the sponsorship - it's a significant step forward in our brand strategy."

Sponsorships are being used by marketers more and more. Why? Because the act of sponsoring an event or activity with a particular audience is widely recognised as an effective way to make that audience aware of the sponsor's capabilities, products, or services. Often, it is an important supplement to more traditional advertising media as it allows a company to establish its brand and a dialogue with a defined target audience. Sponsorship has been the fastest-growing form of marketing in the past decade, outpacing the growth of measured media and sales promotion each year.

Have you considered sponsoring your local community events and clubs? You don’t have to be a global brand to contribute, and it can be an effective way of attracting customers from within your target area.

Jane Spence

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