Sony Ericsson in $20 Mil. Tennis Sponsorship

NEW YORK Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications said today it has signed a four-year, $20 million deal that would enable it to reclaim title sponsorship of the Nasdaq-100 Open tennis tournament played in Key Biscayne, Fla.

The tournament, which is owned and managed by IMG, was founded in 1985. The annual event was called the Lipton International prior to 1999. Ericsson was the title sponsor from 1999-2002 (before the company merged with Sony), at which point Nasdaq took over sponsorship.

As part of the deal, Sony Ericsson will have on-court brand presence, global advertising and promotional rights. Sony Ericsson also said it would use the sponsorship as a platform to further develop its brand profile in the Latin and North American regions.

The first Sony Ericsson Open will be played in March 2007. Sony Ericsson has been the global title sponsor of the Women’s Tennis Association since 2005.

“Two years ago, we signed our first ever global sponsorship deal with the WTA. This partnership has proven to be successful in allowing us to grow our brand presence on an international scale,” Dee Dutta, corporate vice president and director of marketing for Sony Ericsson, said in a statement. “This success encouraged us to expand our involvement in professional tennis and to look at ways in which we could appeal to wider audiences, including those that follow the men’s game. The announcement of the title sponsorship of the Sony Ericsson Open, one of the top five tennis tournaments in the world, is a demonstration of our commitment to these objectives.”

—Brandweek staff report