How can you excite sports fans around the world while maximizing all the business opportunities available in sports business today? It is not easy when you are competing with hundreds of big bankroll professional team but this weekend’s promotion of the Davis Cup by the International Tennis Federation showed well managed sports events can also be rewarding.
Good advance sales built a good foundation for well financed competition. The ITF scheduled its final competition two months after the semi-finals. This provided adequate time to promote the Davis Cup finals through direct sales and group sales to tennis clubs. The proximity of the finalists, France and neighboring Switzerland, made the logistics of selling tickets and getting near sellout crowds easier.
A spectator arena at near full capacity is just what many sponsors like to see and gave them an opportunity to position themselves with tennis fans. Coca-Cola put its corporate brand on the bleachers and selected its Powerade sports and fitness drink as the brand to be promoted at the event. Lacoste appealed to its home market in France with custom uniforms for the French team with its logo redesigned as a patriotic tricolor replica of the French flag. Fashion is known for influencer trends and short lived fads, but patriotism has a large, loyal dependable following that outlasts any fad.
Sponsors of Swiss tennis champions Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka matched their Davis Cup promotions to personal bonds these tennis players have built with their fans and their personal likeability. Federer is sponsored by financial services giant Credit Suisse, which portrays Federer and wealthy, successful and relaxed. Showing Federer relaxed off the tennis court after expending more energy in a day than many people do in a year leaves a credible impression that trusting Credit Suisse with wealth management can take the stress out of planning for your financial future. Since Federer and Wawrinka will share about $750,000 in prize money, the Credit Suisse campaign earned extra credibility.
Stan Wawrinka, ranked number four worldwide in men’s tennis, still retains an athlete next door image that sponsors can use to connect with consumers they seek to reach. Optical services chain Visilab portrays Wawrinka sporting high tech sunglasses to get a winning edge. Subaru also sponsors Wawrinka to appeal to upscale buyers who might be looking at a BMW or Mercedes but are also looking for SUV level performance when they haul their own sports gear.
Marketing innovation begets innovation. The victorious Swiss Tennis Federation is planning to capitalize on its historic victory by exhibiting the Davis Cup and telling its story at special events at tennis clubs. The estimated daily fee of $5,000 is a good investment for tennis clubs trying to sell memberships that cost $25,000 or more. And the Swiss Tennis Federation could add a million dollars or so to its budget to help finance future success.