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SBD Global/October 8, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Resort Operator Crown Extends Sponsorship Deal With Tennis Player Li Na

Casino and resort operator Crown has extended its sponsorship with Chinese tennis star Li Na "for a further two years in a multimillion-dollar deal to promote the company to its Asian customers," according to John Stensholt of the AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW. Crown Exec Chair James Packer said that the deal "was a way of strengthening the company’s brand in Asia and was its most important sports sponsorship." The company has sponsored Li Na since Sept. '11. The Crown deal "is one of a string of recent sports sponsorships by Australian companies or brands attempting to tap into the huge Chinese consumer market." The China Open tennis tournament "features sponsors such as Jetstar and Jacob’s Creek" (AFR, 10/8). In Sydney, John Lehmann reported Packer is "banking on the appeal" of Li to "lure Asian tourists to his expanding suite of multi-billion-dollar casino resorts." The deal comes as Packer "prepares to open" a new A$1B ($940M) casino in Manila next year and the A$2.4B Studio City property in Macau in '15. Packer is "in the middle of a major investment program," with more than A$2.7B expected to be spent between '09 and '16, which includes a $568M "expansion of Perth's Burswood property." Beyond that, Crown is "expected to announce plans" to build a A$371M, 400-room luxury hotel and casino in Sri Lanka to be opened in '17, with its pinnacle A$1.5B Barangaroo casino resort "due to be completed by" '19 (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 10/8).
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