SBJ/March 22 - 28, 2004/Finance

Nasdaq uses tourney to boost QQQ tracking stock

QQQ. The three letters are the heart of Nasdaq's marketing campaign around this week's Nasdaq-100 Open, the largest non-Grand Slam tennis tournament.

Serena Williams collector card
The QQQ is the Nasdaq-100 Index Tracking stock, the heaviest-traded security in the world, according to the electronic exchange. The security tracks the top 100 Nasdaq stocks, and the six-year title sponsorship is designed to brand the security with investing-conscious tennis fans.

"Our job is to continually push the QQQ and make more and more investors aware of it," said John Jacobs, Nasdaq chief marketing officer. "This tournament is so important because it has such international implications, such great demographics."

Nasdaq is in its third year as title sponsor, spending about $4 million to $5 million annually on the tourney, which includes about a $2 million rights fee and advertising and promotional efforts.

Its first year was a rushed one, with the company replacing Ericsson just weeks before the event, and with the effort mainly on removing the telecommunications company's name from all tournament-related items.

Last year, Nasdaq focused on promoting Nasdaq companies, something that will continue this year.

However, QQQ will be a staple this week and next. Through Nasdaq's influence, a conference of electronic traded funds was moved from its regularly scheduled February time slot to this week in Key Biscayne, Fla., to coincide with the tournament.

Nasdaq will entertain hundreds of traders with tennis, bombarding them with information about QQQ.

On-site at the Nasdaq-100/QQQ pavilion, commemorative promotional giveaways will include 8-by-10-inch collector cards that on one side highlight the greatest moments in tournament history and on the other provide information on the QQQ.

Nasdaq also will give baseball caps to all attendees of finals weekend.

The tournament stretches from Wednesday though April 4.

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