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Aug 26, 2018

Anyone for tenni$?

by Gerry McEnroe - Creative Artworker

Anyone for tenni$?

As the US Open is well under way with all of the sponsors taking advantage of the Flushing Meadow hospitality, we look back at Wimbledon fortnight. It's one of the key objectives for The Championships to keep the grounds free of commercial sponsorships, apart from the ‘official’ ones of course. So if Rafa or Roger win and pocket a measly £2.5m and hold up the famous Wimbledon trophy, the old 'product placement' comes in to play... the watches that they wear, Roger (which magically appears for the photographs) a Rolex of course (a Wimbledon sponsor) and Rafa’s famous Richard Mille ‘timepiece’, it’s too expensive to be called a watch. If you don’t know the price, have a guess and then have a “Google’.

This is when Uniqlo served an ace!

Uniqlo left it to the last minute before it was revealed, and when Roger stepped on to Wimbledon Centre Court it became global news.

Roger has left Nike? What’s that he’s wearing? After more than 20 years he switched to the Japanese clothing brand Uniqlo for an estimated £228m over the next 10 years. Of course this doesn’t include his shoes which are still Nike, but I hear sponsorship for these are up for grabs as Uniqlo don’t make shoes. Even if Roger stops playing or retires he is guaranteed his payment. Not a bad deal even for him.

As for some guerilla marketing in the famous queue? Don’t count on it.

Free sun hats, umbrellas, or water bottles etc, heavily branded to get products on TV are frowned upon and are temporarily confiscated on entry. If however you refuse to surrender said item you are refused entry... not a difficult choice if you ask me.

Basically, Wimbledon is protecting its brand. This gives gravitas so that TV and commercial companies around the world want to be associated with it. Being very selective and rarely changing sponsors is what keeps the brand so iconic. It’s something that ‘The Championships’ do very well.

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