Special to NYSportsJournalism
May 16, 2012: Nintendo of America has signed a deal with the U.S. Tennis Assn. to become an official sponsor of the SmashZone Mobile Tour, the interactive tennis fan attraction that is traveling the country en route to the U.S. Open in New York this summer.
The alliance is part of the marketing effort to support the release of Mario Tennis Open for the Nintendo 3DS hand-held system, scheduled to hit retail on May 20.
As part of the agreement, Nintendo said it would incorporate video game kiosks into the SmashZone experience throughout the duration of the tour. The partnership will launch May 19-20 at the California Strawberry Festival in Oxnard.
Nintendo will be an official sponsor of Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day presented by Hess, scheduled for Aug. 25 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. The 2012 U.S. Open runs from Aug. 27-Sept. 9.
The tour is part of the USTA's "10 and Under Tennis" initiative to introduce and promote the sport to youngsters. Other marketing partners for the SmashZone Mobile Tour include Esurance, Xerox Tennis Magazine and SportCourt.
“Video games can serve as a gateway to help get kids interested in real-life sports and activities,” Scott Moffitt, evp-sales and marketing for Nintendo of America, said in a statement. “Mario Tennis Open features all their favorite Nintendo characters and fast-paced tennis action that people will have fun experiencing.”
SmashZone Mobile includes a 53-foot trailer, which features interactive activities and anchors four kid-sized tennis courts for youth play. The Nintendo video game kiosks will be located in the game room of the trailer. Nintendo brand ambassadors will be on site to provide hands-on demonstrations of Mario Tennis Open.
According to Kurt Kamperman, USTA chief executive, Community Tennis, “We are thrilled to welcome industry leader and innovator Nintendo as an official partner. Their collaboration and support of the SmashZone Mobile Tour provides a tremendous opportunity to engage thousands of parents and children throughout the country.”