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MARKETING THE LIPTON CHAMPIONSHIPS AND TENNIS
Published March 21, 1995
From '92-94, the official poster for the Lipton Championships in Key Biscayne, FL "was a cross between Gone With the Wind and Miami Rhapsody, tasteful paintings of the 2-year-old Lipton Stadium and photos of palm trees and beaches. And then there's the 1995 Lipton poster -- an orange fireball vaguely similar to the Miami Heat logo, centered on a stark black backdrop." According to first year Lipton Championships CEO Laurence Kashdin: "This is about seeing tennis in a different way." Eric Conrad of the Ft. Lauderdale SUN-SENTINEL writes, "There is a transformation under way at the 1995 Lipton event, but the Lipton is just one snapshot in an industrywide response to depressing tennis participation and equipment-sales numbers served up since 1990." How tennis can become "cool" may be the "biggest test" the sport has faced. "The most striking clash of images at this year's Lipton Championships may be the strong presence" of MTV-Latino Network. But Lipton's '95 changes go beyond MTV. Roughly five acres at the tennis complex is covered with fan-interactive exhibits, from a large Nike play area to a Bacardi sand bar to games where fans can smash overhead lobs alongside Pete Sampras and other players. Kashdin: "Tennis, outside the Grand Slams, is not that profitable. If we have to surround tennis with entertainment to validate it, that's how we'll validate it" (Ft. Lauderdale SUN-SENTINEL, 3/20).