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Volume 21 No. 1
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Financial services fuel U.S. Open activation

With the U.S. Open starting this week in New York, the event’s 25 corporate sponsors will be serving up activation programs around the Grand Slam event.

As always, with a tournament staged in the world’s business capital, financial services sponsors are taking the lead.

JPMorgan Chase, an Open corporate patron since 1982, will be the most prominent on-site sponsor. A new on-site indoor training facility will be renamed for Chase — the Chase Center — during the two weeks of the Open. The second floor of that building will hold a Chase-branded customer experience, including food and beverage service, 3-D video, a gaming area, and opportunities to have a picture taken with the trophy for the women’s singles competition, which JPMorgan Chase also sponsors.

Deanne Pownall, the U.S. Tennis Association’s senior director of partnership marketing, said consumers who are Chase customers will have access to the lounge, and Chase is hoping to entertain 10,000 customers over the 26 sessions of the event. Chase also used event tickets as incentives and for sweepstakes.

USTA (2)
American Express (above) and Chase are creating on-site customer experiences.
American Express, beginning its 18th year as a U.S. Open sponsor, is underwriting a new fan experience center adjacent to the USTA membership booth. The center will offer an analysis of a participant’s tennis serve, with AmEx cardholders getting a 10-minute live lesson from a tennis pro. A digital touchscreen Court Curator by AmEx will allow fans to plan and customize their Open visit. Additionally, an on-site gift-with-purchase program offers fans a $50 gift card, redeemable after the Open, with every $150 AmEx purchase. AmEx is also staging U.S. Open viewing parties in Chicago, Houston and San Francisco.

Online insurer Esurance became a U.S. Open sponsor late last year but has come back with a three-year extension. Esurance is using the Bryan brothers to push its affiliation, and a sweepstakes on-site offers the chance to play against the tennis twins as top prize. A “spotter” program will also offer prizes to fans seen wearing an Esurance-branded tag.

Heineken has renewed for four more years of additional rights and will sponsor the event’s kickoff concert and two on-site taverns. It also will stage a viewing party at a yet-undisclosed location via social media.

Also among beverage sponsors, new partner Moet & Chandon — the event’s first official champagne — will have a branded bar on-site. Gatorade will have on-court exposure and be sold within the venue this year for the first time.

Grey Goose vodka will have an eight-foot-tall “cup” filled with tennis balls and have a contest to guess the number. United Airlines will have a jet fashioned from tennis balls for the same purpose.

Xerox, a new sponsor in the document technology category, is running a business-to-business campaign and will feature a case study of its U.S. Open technology prowess online and on its own site.

Mercedes-Benz is using the Open to showcase its AMG sports car, among others, and it had Roger Federer opening a new Manhattan showroom last week. Mercedes also will have a branded experience on-site and supply hybrid cars at the event.