On January 12, the U.S. Tennis Association (USTA)–the sport’s national governing body and a SponsorUnited partner–announced that tennis participation in the US increased for the 3rd consecutive year in 2022 to more than 23.6M people, a whopping 33% increase since 2020. With the 2023 Australian Open now in full swing, let’s take a look at how brands activated across tennis tournaments in 2022, and what we can expect to see at the new year’s first tennis major.
Women’s health specialist Hologic made waves in the tennis world last year with more than 30 new deals–including becoming title sponsor of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Tour, where its logo adorned the net at WTA tournaments. Notably, Hologic had no 2021 sponsorships before going all-in on women’s tennis in 2022. Will the brand also bank on other women’s sports in 2023? Time will tell.
Another brand to keep an eye on this year: Cadillac, which took center stage at the US Open in 2022, becoming the tournament’s official vehicle in a multi-year deal that will see it return to America’s premier tennis event in August. Keen to promote its debut all-electric SUV, the LYRIQ, the luxury carmaker doubled its number of tennis sponsorship deals last year–investing in the US, Miami, Atlanta, and Citi Opens–from just 2 deals in 2021.
Over 100 brands partnered with the Australian Open last year across all asset types– sponsor, digital, TV, radio, and vendor. Automotive brand Kia–the longest-standing Australian Open sponsor since 2002–was the most visible brand throughout the 2022 showcase. Major assets included venue naming rights, net signage, and a virtual activation inside of the Decentraland platform–marking the first time a tennis major activated within the metaverse. (The US Open followed suit, hosting activations inside Decentraland last summer). The Australian Open has already leveraged the metaverse again in 2023, this time partnering with the Roblox platform on a digital recreation of Melbourne Park featuring Emirates, the tournament’s airline partner.
Besides Kia–which already began activating Down Under with product displays and attendee activities–Emirates, Rolex, Ralph Lauren, Infosys, Luzhou Laojiao, and Canadian Club also returned as sponsors of this year’s tournament, after featuring prominently at the 2022 event.