SBD/Issue 232/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

U.S. Open Tennis Renews Citizen Watch, Polo Ralph Lauren Deals

Williams To Conduct
Webcast Tennis Clinic

The U.S. Open Tennis Championships is "renewing sponsorships with Citizen Watch and Polo Ralph Lauren, two of its leading partners, in five-year deals worth a total of up to $28 million," according to Daniel Kaplan of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. The companies’ deals "were up after this year’s tournament, which begins Aug. 30." Polo, a sponsor since '05, "will pay about $8 million in value over the coming five years in its renewal." The company also is "hiring Venus Williams for a one-time webcast tennis clinic next week in a deal that could portend a larger relationship with the world’s No. 4-ranked player." Polo and Williams are "producing a co-branded dress she will wear during the clinic and will be sold on-site at the Open." She "will not wear the dress during the Open." The webcast is also "backed by Open sponsor Mercedes-Benz, which sources said is paying $250,000 for the affiliation." Meanwhile, Citizen, an Open sponsor since '93, next year is "picking up official timekeeper status at the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters and Women’s Open, an event that, like the Open, is owned by the U.S. Tennis Association." The watchmaker is also "renewing sponsorship of Pilot Pen Tennis, another USTA-owned event." Sources said that Citizen’s new five-year commitment, including the other events, is worth $15-20M, with the "vast majority of that being tied to the U.S. Open" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 8/16 issue).  

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