Get ready to enjoy ATP tennis with a twist of lime.
According to the New York Times, the ATP tour has signed a new five-and-a-half-year deal with Mexican beer company Grupo Modelo to make its popular Corona Extra the new global corporate sponsor of ATP events. This deal, for an undisclosed sum, comes a year after Mercedes-Benz formally ended its run as the tour’s main sponsor.
Fans will start seeing the Corona Extra logo on the nets of some ATP events this year and on more than two-thirds of events in 2011. Corona Extra will also figure prominently in off-court marketing as well according to ATP chief executive Adam Helfant.
In an interview Helfant said, “They’re (Corona) pretty savvy marketers, and we think they’re going to bring new creativity and energy to our tour and to tennis in general.”
Although beer and alcohol sponsorship of tennis events is nothing new, especially with Heineken being a key sponsor of the U.S. Open, it will be interesting to see how fans and even players react to the news. It does appear the ATP is ready to rebrand men’s tennis from what many still consider an elitist sport to a more fan-friendly game.
How this new brand relationship works out remains to be seen. Will Corona bring new fans to the game? If they do, how will it work with certain events that pride themselves on being “exclusive” and “premier”? And is Corona looking to distinguish itself as a “premier” brand, or something completely different?
It’s too soon to tell but at least the ATP has filled what they called a “hole” that needed to be filled for some time.