Tennis continues to be a strategic part of marketing and sponsorship for a growing number of companies nationwide, with the projected spend at the professional and amateur level this year predicted to top $700 million for the first time.

With such companies as Corona, Emirates, Rolex, FedEx, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo leading the way, the projected $708 million spend is up more than $40 million from last year and up more than $125 million from 2009, according to sponsorship, marketing and research firm IEG, Chicago.

The projected $708 million worldwide sponsorship and marketing spend on amateur and professional tennis tournaments, leagues and sanctioning bodies is up 6.1 from 2012, which IEG said would exceed its projected 5.5% increase for the overall sponsorship industry in 2013 and is on-par with a 6% increase forecast for the entire sports category.

Spending on tennis deals was $581 million in 2009, $600 million in 2010, $628 million in 2011 and $667 million last year, IEG wrote in its just-released “IEG Sponsorship Report: Tennis.”

The spend is expected to continue to rise in coming years. Last month, for example, ESPN signed an 11-year deal, $770 million with the United States Tennis Association (USTA) for exclusive rights to the US Open tennis Grand Slam, which begins in 2015.

The deals do not include those brokered between individual players and companies. In that category alone, based on combined tennis-related winnings and endorsement deals, Serena Williams ($46 million), Roger Federer ($45 million), Rafael Nadal ($33.2 million), Maria Sharapova ($27.9 million), Novak Djokovic ($21 million) and Li Na ($17.2 million) lead the category, according to industry analysts.

According to IEG, companies that put the most into tennis deals are led by Corona Extra, which has a role in 29% of all tennis properties; Emirates (21%), including the six-week Emirates Air Tennis Series that leads into the US Open tennis Grand Slam; Rolex (21%), Wilson (18%), FedEx (17%), Evian (16%), Ricoh (16%), Sony Xperia (15%), Coke and PepsiCo’s Gatorade (13%), BNP Paribas (12%) and Mercedes-Benz (12%).

By category, the most prevalent companies and firms involved in tennis come from (in order): sports apparel and equipment, banks and financial services, automotive, beverages (including beer), watches-jewelry, airlines, hotels and resorts, insurance firms and media (publishing, Internet, TV and cable).

IEG reported that, in addition to new spending by non-endemic companies, tennis continues to benefit from three other factors: The growing popularity of tennis in the US and abroad; scalable marketing platforms that provide global reach; and new stadium upgrades and more opportunities for sponsor integration.

“While it may not be a grand slam, tennis has largely overcome the economic headwinds to set the stage for a positive 2013 and beyond,” said IEG Sponsorship Report senior editor William Chipps, in a statement.

Barry Janoff is director of sports media marketing initiatives for PromaxBDA. He also is the executive editor for NYSportsJournalism.com which covers national sports marketing, business and media news; and a contributing writer for Yahoo! and MediaPost.


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