By Barry Janoff
June 3, 2013: 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 Air, 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 spend is expected to continue to rise in coming years. Last month, for example, ESPN signed an 11-year deal, $770 million with the U.S. Tennis Assn. for exclusive rights to the U.S. 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 Air (21%), including the six-week Emirates Air Tennis Series that leads into the U.S. Tennis Grand Slam; Rolex (21%), Wilson (18%), FedEx (17%), Evian (16%), Ricoh (16%), Sony Xperiea (15%), Coke and PepsiCo's Gatorade (13% each), 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 & resorts, insurance firms and media (publishing, Internet, TV and cable).