Korean automotive company Hyundai has ended its long-running sponsorship of the Hopman Cup less than six months before the 2015 edition of the Australian tennis tournament.
Hyundai began its association with the mixed-team event when it launched in Perth 26 years ago, becoming the title sponsor in 1998. The West Australian newspaper said Hyundai’s backing was worth A$800,000 (€554,000/$741,000) annually and it also provided a fleet of 30 cars to transport players, tournament officials and VIPs.
A Hyundai spokesman said: “This decision was taken largely as a result of Hyundai's alignment with its global sponsorship portfolio, which primarily focuses on football, and also the strategic fit with our company's sister brand Kia – sponsor of the Australian Open.”
Hyundai sponsored the recent Fifa World Cup in Brazil and is also the naming partner of Australia’s domestic A-League football competition.
Hopman Cup tournament director Paul Kilderry confirmed the event is searching for a new naming sponsor but remains upbeat on the commercial front following last week’s three-year extension with state tourism authority Tourism WA. Australia and Great Britain, featuring Nick Kyrgois and two-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray respectively, have already confirmed participation in the 2015 edition.
“Hyundai have been an amazing sponsor for the Hopman Cup since its inception, they have been incredible,” Kilderry added. “Having a sponsor stay with an event for that long is extremely rare. It's disappointing, but their global strategy is heading more towards football.”