HomeData Report

FREE | Sponsorship trends in Grand Slam tennis

Following extensive research into partnerships at the four tennis Grand Slams – Wimbledon, Roland-Garros, the US Open and the Australian Open – SportBusiness Sponsorship presents:

  • An overview of the 10 most valuable deals in Grand Slam tennis
  • Grand Slam sponsorship revenue by tournament
  • Each Grand Slam’s sponsorship revenue by deal and sector.

We have also provided analysis of selected trends and specific partnerships, to help you understand the context behind the data.

Methodology

The deal values in this report have been compiled from original research using industry sources.

The values show rights fees only, and do not take into account value in kind.


JP Morgan and Chase retain lead positions

The biggest deal in Grand Slam tennis remains the combined JP Morgan and Chase partnership with the United States Tennis Association (USTA), worth about $20m (€17.7m) per year.

Although JP Morgan and Chase are perceived as two independent sponsors, covering the investment banking and banking categories respectively, their branding inventory remains the same as when JP Morgan Chase first signed as an individual lead partner of the US Open in 2005.

The duo’s main branding assets are the four central positions on the walls at each end of the court: two positions for JP Morgan at one end, and two for Chase at the other. Emirates and American Express have branding on each wall alongside the JP Morgan and Chase logos.

All three partners signed long-term renewals in the three years ahead of the US Open’s 50th anniversary in 2018. SportBusiness Sponsorship understands that USTA staggers the terms of its main partnerships so that the organisation is not exposed to multiple renewals in a single year.

The US Open also retains its crown as the richest Grand Slam by sponsorship revenue, but its lead is under threat from French rival Roland-Garros, and increasingly the Australian Open (see ‘Chinese brands see Grand Slam value’).

Chinese brands see Grand Slam value

The two new entrants to this year’s top 10 Grand Slam sponsors are Chinese spirits brand Luzhao Laojiao and Chinese smartphone brand Oppo.

Both brands are among the two biggest spenders at their respective Grand Slams.

This year, Luzhao Laojiao replaced Australian wine brand Jacob’s Creek as one of three Associate Partners at the Australian Open, alongside Rolex and ANZ Bank.

Jacob’s Creek paid A$6.5m ($4.5m) per year in its final cycle as an Associate Partner, a position it had held for 13 years.

This year, Luzhao Laojiao paid A$20m ($14m) for the same rights, under a five-year deal from 2019 to 2023. The increased fee has brought the Australian Open’s total partnership revenue to over $80m for the first time, a year-on-year increase of about 20 per cent.

The deal gives Luzhao Laojiao branding in the left-hand corner at each end of the court, branding along the side of the court, and exclusive, 360° branding on all four walls at the end of the finals, during which LEDs alternate between the Luzhao Laijao logo and ‘Congratulations’ in English and Chinese.

Two other Chinese brands, namely Ganten bottled water and the DeRucci bedding company, have joined as Official Partners of the Australian Open in the last two years.

The Australian Open’s Chinese TV audience has grown rapidly recent years, and Luzhao Laojiao’s arrival – and its significantly increased rights fee – represents the increased value of the tournament to Chinese brands.

In 2017, over 59 million Chinese viewers tuned in to watch the Australian Open – an increase of 84 per cent on the previous year, according to Tennis Australia. In the same year, China also overtook Japan as the tournament’s biggest TV audience in Asia-Pacific by total number of viewing hours.

For Tennis Australia, the partnership with Luzhou Laojiao is the second phase of a long-term growth strategy aiming to double the number of playing hours broadcast in China over the next two years.


Oppo pays over the odds despite branding limitations

Wimbledon’s deal with Chinese smartphone brand Oppo has brought double-digit sponsorship revenue growth for a second consecutive year, bringing the tournament’s total sponsorship revenue to over $50m for the first time.

At Wimbledon, Oppo is the both the first Asian partner and first smartphone partner of the tournament.

Wimbledon expanded its total number of partners to 15 this year to accommodate Oppo, and it is understood that the tournament has no plans to seek additional sponsors, due to the self-imposed scarcity of its inventory and concerns about exclusivity.

Like Slazenger, Rolex and IBM, Oppo has limited TV-visible branding, although its top-left corner branding is one of the more conspicuous logos on display on Wimbledon’s perimeter.

Beyond on-court branding, Oppo aims to use the partnership to showcase its latest flagship camera phones through photo and video content captured at the tournament.

As with Luzhou Laojiao and the Australian Open, Wimbledon is partnering with Oppo to grow its viewership in China and tap into a younger demographic in Asia-Pacific.

Oppo will be able to use Wimbledon IP worldwide, including at its more than 200,000 retail stores in China and at retail outlets in over 40 other countries.

Most recent

Clarity, the business travel company that has taken on almost the entire staff of the defunct Thomas Cook Sport, is keen to restore the latter’s sponsorships with leading sports properties in the UK.

Spanish sports car brand Cupra signed as the Official Automotive and Mobility Partner of LaLiga club FC Barcelona in a five-year deal.

Spanish LaLiga club Sevilla FC has embarked on a modernisation process, including a major refurbishment of both its stadium and training ground, as it looks to accelerate growth in commercial revenue.

Recent deals at Juventus and Bologna show how Italian clubs are looking to DRT to retain betting partnerships even now they are banned domestically.