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SBD Global/February 4, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

WTA Signs Three-Year, Multimillion-Dollar Sponsorship Deal With Xerox

The WTA Tour has finalized a three-year, multimillion-dollar sponsorship with Xerox, acccording to Daniel Kaplan of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. The deal would be the circuit’s most significant such pact since Sony Ericsson departed as lead backer last year. An official announcement of the deal is expected Monday. WTA board approval would follow. While the new deal will be the tour’s largest sponsorship, the WTA will continue to seek a partner to fill the role of lead sponsor. The WTA initially wanted Xerox to take that top sponsorship position, a slot the tour has been shopping since early last year, but the business services and documents company did not want to spend the requisite amount of money. Xerox CMO Christa Carone, explaining why the company did not go for the full package, said, “Part of it was affordability.” Xerox becomes the WTA’s business services and office document technology sponsor.

PLANNING AHEAD: WTA CEO Stacey Allaster said that the circuit is in fine financial shape because of revenue from the season-ending championship event, a new int'l TV package, and reserves accumulated during Sony Ericsson’s run as title sponsor and then lead backer. Allaster: “The board had the foresight many years ago that we might not have Sony Ericsson, and today we have diversified revenues.” Allaster said the WTA is happy to work with an int'l brand like Xerox, calling it a very significant deal. While Xerox is known to many as a copy company, more than half of its revenue derives from business services. As part of the new sponsorship, Xerox will perform audits on the WTA and the 19 tournaments that initially will take part in the sponsorship, assessing their business processes and informational technology systems. At those events, Xerox will have on-court branding, though not net signage as Sony Ericsson had. The WTA has made a big push into Asia, though none of the 19 events affected by the deal are in that region. The WTA and Xerox will assess after this year if the sponsorship can expand to any of the WTA’s other 35 events. Xerox, with $22B in revenue, is not a major sponsor in sports (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 2/4 issue).
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