SBJ/February 28 - March 6, 2005/Marketingsponsorship

Citizen payin’: Sponsor renews with U.S. Open

Citizen Watch has been on the scene at the U.S. Open since 1993.
Citizen Watch Company of America renewed its U.S. Open Tennis Championship sponsorship through 2010 for nearly $23 million, industry sources said. The renewal is scheduled to be announced today.

Other than Omega’s sponsorship of the Olympic Games, the deal is thought to be one of the largest ever for a watch sponsorship of a sports property.

The deal is the latest commercial success for the Open, the lucrative crown jewel of American tennis. In the last eight to 12 months, the U.S. Tennis Association, which owns the Open, has signed sponsorships valued at $140 million, the sources said.

The two-week tournament’s ability to deliver high-end demographics attracts luxury brands such as Citizen, which has been a sponsor since 1993. The event itself is also a tremendous hospitality opportunity for a company like Citizen to entertain distributors and retail partners. Last year the company hosted 1,800 people at the Open.

The Open this year will bring in more than $50 million from sponsorships, said Pierce O’Neil, USTA chief business officer.

Citizen Watch’s U.S. tennis sponsorships
U.S. Open
Pilot Pen Tennis
U.S. Clay Court Championship
Adult and senior national championships

 

Note: All are USTA-owned events. The adult championships are an amateur event.
Source: USTA
As part of the deal, Citizen Watch will advertise on telecasts of the U.S. Open Series, the branded circuit of 11 events that leads up to the Open and is in its second year.

“They will be buying about 80 30-second units,” O’Neil said. “Also new to this package, they will have a very significant online presence at usopen.org.”

The online component will include media, e-mail and radio and TV spots that promote usopen.org.

Citizen continues with signs on the match time clocks on all show courts, as well as a presence on the video boards in Arthur Ashe Stadium and the electronic scoreboards at other major courts.

Citizen also will create a special online sales offer for USTA members, the first time the company will allow consumers to buy directly from it. The company sells its watches through distributors otherwise.

The U.S. Open also recently signed sponsorship renewals, including with Olympus, and O’Neil promised a host of new deals arriving soon, including in the vacant car category.

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