Dubai-based airline Emirates agreed to a five-year sponsorship with the ATP Thursday that will make it the official airline of the ATP World Tour as well as the new title sponsor of the ATP rankings beginning Tuesday. As part of the deal, Emirates will also become the official platinum partner of the ATP World Tour, as well as the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. With a focus on activation around the ATP Rankings, Emirates will also become the presenting sponsor of the ATP World Tour No. 1 trophy ceremonies and the ATP Newcomer of the Year award, presented annually at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. Emirates will also be integrated into programming on ATPWorldTour.com and ATP World Tour Uncovered presented by Rio, the Tour’s weekly magazine-style television show broadcast in more than 150 countries worldwide (ATP).
Marketing and Sponsorship
Tennis player Rafael Nadal is "preparing to join Roger Federer and leave IMG Worldwide ... just as it announces the recruitment of Novak Djokovic, the world No. 1, to its portfolio of sporting stars," according to Neil Harman of the LONDON TIMES. When Federer "declined to sign the new contract offered by IMG in May, the upshot was bound to be a realignment of the representative forces in tennis." The prospect of Nadal "taking a similar decision -- setting up on his own with his father, Sebastián, and Carlos Costa, his manager, taking care of his business enterprises -- prompted the pursuit of Djokovic." IMG Tennis Senior VP & Managing Dir Fernando Soler was in Monaco earlier this month "to finalise negotiations" with Djokovic, and persuade him to "move from" CAA to "become its tennis top dog." The next story is "whether Andy Murray will re-sign for XIX Entertainment, which has managed him for the past three years." The signs are that, "despite moves from IMG and Lagardère Unlimited to prise him away from the company owned by Simon Fuller, the music entrepreneur, that Murray will remain loyal" (LONDON TIMES, 12/22).
THERE'S AN APP FOR THAT: USA TODAY's Jon Swartz reported Nadal has a new iPhone app called Rafael Nadal Tennis Academy that "will be available within the next few days on iTunes." The app, "developed with video-analysis firm Vstrator," offers "in-depth tennis tutorials of Nadal's strokes, along with Vstrator's easy-to-use video coaching tools." Video can be recorded or "imported from a smartphone camera into the app." So-called "Vstrate" technology lets users "highlight video to zero in on any part of their game." Users of the app can "frame video forward and back to compare their technique with Nadal and other players." Vstrator video "can be shared via Facebook, Twitter, e-mail or text message" (USA TODAY, 12/26).
WHEN ONE DOOR CLOSES...: In Bangkok, Kittipong Thongsombat reported sister golfers Moriya and Ariya Jutanugarn will sign three-year contracts with IMG this week. The company "began approaching the sisters last year." Moriya, 18, was a co-medalist at the LPGA qualifying school, while Ariya, 17, was winner at the Ladies European Tour qualifying school. Both will begin their professional campaigns in Australia next month, and their father, Somboon, "believes they will do well in their rookie season" (BANGKOK POST, 12/27).
The Indonesian Golf Association, Asian Tour and IMG have signed a three-year deal to stage the Indonesian Open beginning in '13, according to the JAKARTA POST. The new partnership "will focus on elevating the stature of the Indonesian Open to one of the most prestigious national championships" on the tour. By becoming part of the Asian Tour's TV platform, the Indonesian Open will be broadcast to more than 200 countries and 650 million houses around the world (JAKARTA POST, 12/22).
Nike has "lost its No. 1 footballer" after Australian Football League Hawthorn standout Lance Franklin signed with rival adidas, according to Daryl Timms of the HERALD SUN. Franklin had worn Nike shoes "since he made his debut" in '05. His new deal with adidas "is worth about A$150,000 ($155,000) a season." Hawthorn recently announced the end of its 30-year association with Puma and has struck up a new apparel deal with adidas. Adidas is "in the final stages of finalising the deal and would not comment" (HERALD SUN, 12/19).