ATP Taps Michelob Ultra As Primary Sponsor For U.S.-Based Tourneys Through '15
Michelob Ultra “will replace Corona as the ATP’s lead sponsor” in the U.S. next year, “putting the low-carb beer brand on the nets at the circuit’s 10 U.S. tournaments” through ’15, according to Daniel Kaplan of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. The deal marks Michelob’s “first major move into the sport of tennis, expanding on its road racing and golf sponsorships.” Corona “remains the ATP’s top sponsor outside of the U.S. at the tour’s other 51 events.” ATP Commercial Dir & Europe CEO Laurent Delanney said the Michelob Ultra deal “is the first time” the circuit had split its lead sponsor. The ATP first signed Corona as its top global sponsor in ’10, replacing Mercedes-Benz. There will be “no change in the financial structure because Anheuser-Busch InBev inherited the Corona sponsorship when it acquired Grupo Modelo.” Delanney said that in addition to net signage, Michelob “gets pouring rights at the 10 U.S. events ... as well as on-site activation and point-of-sale branding opportunities.” Michelob currently sponsors the PGA Tour and LPGA, and “has supported” golfers including Grace Park and Natalie Gulbis. Delanney said that he “did not expect Michelob to sign tennis players to endorsements because the new ATP pact is event focused” (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 12/2 issue).