After over a year without a replacement for long-time partner Mercedes Benz, the ATP Tour has finally signed a major sponsor. The tour announced today that Mexican-owned brand Corona Extra (America’s No. 1 imported beer) is becoming the ATP’s “Global Premier Partner.” An Associated Press source says the deal is worth $70 million over a five-and-a-half year span which would be equivalent to the $13 million that Mercedes Benz committed annually (via SportsBusinessJournal). It will go into effect later this year.
It’s not a title sponsorship, so we don’t need to practice saying “ATP Corona Extra World Tour” yet. But Corona, which has sponsored this week’s Acapulco tournament for 16 years, will start having a big presence at ATP events. The Corona Extra logo will be on the nets at tournaments like the old Benz logo of yore, and the ATP will buy out all other beer sponsors such as Heineken, a sponsor of the upcoming Sony Ericsson Open in Miami.
It’s not the usual luxury car or financial services company, but Corona is a global brand and I’m sure everyone at the ATP – including the Player of the Year – is letting out a huge sigh of relief. Here’s Roger Federer in Melbourne this January:
“I think it would be nice to have a main sponsor for the ATP, I think that’s maybe number one priority.” (via Earthtimes)
No such relief yet the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, which is reportedly still trying to keep its title sponsor:
“I am cautiously optimistic (about keeping Sony Ericsson); there have been positive discussions,” said Steve Simon, a WTA board member. “It is always hopeful when there are still discussions going on.”
Many in the sport assumed Sony Ericsson, given its financial troubles and executive turnover, would not renew, so Simon’s words could indicate that such pessimism is misplaced. The cellular company is in the last year of a six-year, $88 million title sponsorship. The WTA originally gave the company until the end of 2009 to make a decision, but then extended the deadline.
Simon said there is now no deadline for Sony Ericsson to decide.
Here’s the ATP’s press release:
February 22, 2010
ATP AND CORONA EXTRA ANNOUNCE NEW GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP
Multi-year sponsorship will focus on promotion of men’s professional tennis worldwide
LONDON, ENGLAND — The ATP and Corona Extra, the world’s number one Mexican beer brand, announced today they have signed an agreement for Corona Extra to become the new global premier partner of the ATP World Tour.
As part of the 51⁄2 year agreement, which begins later this year, Corona Extra becomes the official beer sponsor of the ATP World Tour and will have significant presence at ATP World Tour events around the world, including net branding and other marketing rights.
“We are thrilled to welcome Corona Extra as the ATP’s new global premier partner. Corona Extra is a respected, premium brand enjoyed in 160 countries, which is a great fit for ATP tennis,” said Adam Helfant, ATP Executive Chairman and President. “We are experiencing one of the most exciting periods in the history of men’s professional tennis, and the commitment of this fantastic brand reflects the appeal of our game. We look forward to the creativity and marketing expertise our partners at Grupo Modelo will bring to the ATP World Tour.”
Corona Extra has been a sponsor of ATP tournaments in Acapulco, Mexico for 16 years and Toronto, Canada for four years.
“At Grupo Modelo we are committed to promoting sports not only in Mexico but all over the world, and we are very proud to be venturing into world tennis through our Corona Extra brand and the prestigious ATP World Tour,” said José Parés, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer for Grupo Modelo, the leading company in Mexico in beer production, distribution and marketing, and maker of Corona Extra. “We have admired the success of the sport in recent years and view the ATP World Tour as a terrific platform for us globally.”
In addition to multi-country marketing activation, Corona Extra will be integrated into programming on ATPWorldTour.com and ATP World Tour Uncovered, the Tour’s weekly television show which currently airs in 147 countries.