Lawn Tennis Association Lands 'Major Coup' As Aegon Extends Deal Through 2017
The Lawn Tennis Association has extended its sponsorship deal with life and pensions firm Aegon UK through '17. The new four-year deal will see Aegon continue as title sponsor of three of Britain's most prestigious grass court tennis events -- the Aegon Championships at the Queen’s Club, London, the Aegon Int'l at Devonshire Park, Eastbourne, and the Aegon Classic at Edgbaston Priory Club, Birmingham. Aegon UK will also be the team sponsor of the Great Britain Davis & Fed Cup teams, all national age group British teams and will continue to support the future talent of British tennis through the Aegon FutureStars program. The partnership will also see Aegon UK support a number of professional and recreational competitions including the GB Pro-Series events, the British Tour and County and Club Team Tennis (LTA).
MONEY MATTERS: In London, Paul Newman reported the initial deal with Aegon was believed to be worth more than £25M ($39M) over five years and was "regarded as a major coup." The extension of the partnership, particularly in the light of the current economic climate and the difficulties within the financial services sector, "is a significant boost for the LTA, who have so often been the butt of criticism." All three tournaments "have been performing well commercially." Queen’s continues to sell out every year, Eastbourne has reported a 33% improvement on ticket sales compared with 12 months ago and Edgbaston is up by 13.5% (EVENING STANDARD, 6/12). In London, Kevin Mitchell reported Aegon "will not say how much it is putting up." Aegon pledged just less than £25M in Sept. '08 -- a day after Lehman Brothers went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and "not a great time for financial service institutions." Its continuing commitment "is encouraging." Outgoing CEO Roger Draper "explained in outlining where the money will go." Draper said, "I think the dial has certainly shifted towards participation. A couple of weeks ago we had some good news. I think we were the only sport that actually showed any increases whatsoever in 5-to-10-year-olds playing sport, and 11-to-15-year-olds" (GUARDIAN, 6/12).