Wimbledon '09 Puts Marketers, Players At Center Court

June 22, 2009: Rafael Nadal will not be there to defend his title, but the Wimbledon grand slam tennis event that runs June 22-July 5 will have the best of the rest of tennis' elite and a plethora of marketing partners to keep the activation at center court. The Nadal-Roger Federer finals match in 2008 became an instant classic, but Nadal's knees forced him to choose recovering from tendonitis over playing tennis. Even without him, the men's side includes Federer (who is seeking what would be an all-time best 15th grand slam title and second consecutive, having won the French Open earlier this month), Andy Murray, Andy Roddick, Novak Djokovic and Tommy Haas. The women's side include Venus and Serena Williams (Venus beat Serena in the 2008 Wimbledon final and they could meet again in 2009), Maria Sharapova, French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, Ana Ivanovic and Dinara Safina (currently ranked No. 1 in the world).

On the marketing side, the economy has only slightly affected such partnership activation as TV, print, online and onsite/experiential. IBM, the event's official information technology supplier, has several new applications for smart phones: using a T-Mobile G1 handset, visitors can find out who is playing and updated scores on courts throughout the venue; points of interest have been plotted using GPS; and a downloadable Twitter application is being provided. A TV spot from Robinsons, which has been the official still soft drink of Wimbledon since 1935, shows people in Britain reacting to a single's title being won by a player from the U.K. (which hasn't happened in the open era of tennis dating back to 1968). Media partner BBC has been running a promo starring Andy Murray and featuring a voiceover from John McEnroe. In addition, EA Sports this month released Grand Slam Tennis for the Wii, which features top current and past players at all four grand slams, but is the exclusive partner of Wimbledon.

The list: Blossom Hill: official wine (with Wimbledon since 2007); Evian: bottled water (2008); Garnier Ambre Solaire: suncare (2007); G4S: security services provider; Häagen-Dazs: ice cream (2006); Hertz: car (1995); HSBC: banking partner (2007); IBM: supplier of information technology (1990); Lanson: champagne (2001); Nescafé: coffee (1999); Polo Ralph Lauren: outfitter (2006); Robinsons: still soft drink (1934); Rolex timekeeper (1978); and Slazenger: official ball (1902).

Wimbledon can be seen on ESPN, ESPN 2 and The Tennis Channel. NBC will air the women's finals (July 4) and men's finals (July 5). Back to Home Page