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Wimbledon signs first Asian partnership with Chinese smartphone brand Oppo

The organiser of the Wimbledon tennis tournament has signed a new partnership with Chinese smartphone brand Oppo – its first ever with an Asian brand.

Under the five-year global deal, Oppo will become the Official Smartphone Partner of The Championships, Wimbledon, as the event is officially known.

The deal was signed by the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC), which organises the annual grass-court Grand Slam. The partnership is not only Wimbledon’s first with an Asian brand, but also its first with a smartphone brand.

Mick Desmond, commercial and media director at the AELTC, said the partnership will focus on the use of Oppo’s smartphone technology at The Championships, and Oppo will activate around its flagship camera phones, the Find X and the Reno.

Wimbledon’s head photographer has already been working with an Oppo device, and this summer, some of the AELTC’s official photographers will be shooting the tournament using the Find X and the Reno.

In one activation, the images will then be posted on Wimbledon’s website and social media channels and across the Oppo portfolio of phones.

Read this: The Business of Wimbledon: Brand and Media

For Wimbledon, the key aim of the partnership is to build awareness of the Wimbledon brand in Asia, both across territories and among new untapped demographics.

Speaking to SportBusiness Sponsorship, Desmond said: “Trying to build our brand in Asia is one of our key challenges, and having a major player in Asia is going to be critical for that.

“We’ve had approaches from Asia and China before, but in categories that we looked at and said: ‘Well, we can see what it would do for them, but not for us.’

“But here we were attracted to two things about Oppo: One, the category of being a smartphone provider and distributor, because it gives us access to a much younger demographic.

“And two, their aspiration with the camera as such a key part of the smartphone, and the way that can really bring to life the beauty and imagery of Wimbledon.”

Read this: The Business of Wimbledon: Sponsorship

For Oppo, the key aim of the partnership is to increase brand awareness in potential growth markets in Europe and the Americas.

Brian Shen, vice president of Oppo, told SportBusiness Sponsorship: “Brand awareness is very important for us. Right now we are already the fifth-largest smartphone producer in the world, so sales is not the most important thing.”

Wimbledon’s others partners include tennis ball brand Slazenger (since 1902), Robinsons soft drinks (since 1935), IBM (since 1990), champagne brand Lanson (since 2001), US clothing brand Ralph Lauren (since 2006), British car brand Jaguar Land Rover (since 2015), Swiss watch brand Rolex (since 1978) and American Express (starting this year).