Why do brands choose tennis for sponsorship activation and hospitality?

By in Hospitality Programs, Sponsorship Activation, Thought Pieces

Strawberries and cream, Pimms and Murray Mound are all things synonymous with our love affair that is Wimbledon; where for two weeks, we unite to cheer on Andy Murray and the other British hopefuls at the world famous All England Lawn Tennis Club.

With half a million people attending in 2014 and viewing figures on the BBC for peaking at 10 million, it’s easy to see why tennis and Wimbledon in particular, remains a powerful and winning combination for sponsorship activation.  This tried and tested formula is validated by brands such as Slazenger and Robinsons, being associated with the tournament since 1902 and 1935 respectively.

Whilst its clear sponsors get a significant lift in brand awareness during the tournament, other benefits to activation include the use of the VIP hospitality to give their most rewarding customers, employees and consumers a branded experience at one of the most renowned events on the annual sporting calendar.

But what importance is placed by brands on the exclusive experiences that sponsoring major sporting events delivers? Sponsorship platforms are multi-layered and include a wealth of opportunity for brands to leverage their association with sporting spectacles.

RPMC are working with Aegon, the lead Partner of British Tennis to manage their VIP hospitality and ticketing programme. For Aegon, using sponsorship to enhance their brand through consumer activations, below the line campaigns and VIP hospitality, is paramount to their overall marketing strategy success.

Hospitality in particular gives Aegon an opportunity to connect with their valued customers, forge and cement business relations, reward the end consumer, all while conveying important business messaging. Immersive experiences, such as hospitality, aid brands to capture the attention and imagination of the guest, ensure that optimal levels of engagement are sought, whilst increasing the affinity to the brand at a world class event.

When it came to the overall design and implementation of the Aegon hospitality suite at their flagship event, the Aegon Championships at The Queens Club in London the brief was clear. Due to the FCA regulations on bribery hospitality had to reflect the ethos of the brand and give pertinent messaging to the guests through the use of graphics, video content on a large video wall, speeches and series of one-to-one networking opportunities.

Tara McGregor-Woodhams, Head of Brand, Sponsorship & Digital Marketing at Aegon comments:

We use our sponsorship of the tennis to do three things: thank our customers for their loyalty, build brand awareness and nurture existing relationships with our key advisers/distributors. We have hospitality areas at all the events we sponsor. We place a big emphasis on rewarding customers and invite customers living near the tournaments we sponsor as well as customers who win competitions we run.  We also use our hospitality to educate invited guests on our key propositions – in particular Retiready. At The Aegon Championships our hospitality area has video walls that play all our propositional films and adverts and iPads on tables so guests can interact with and learn about Retiready and our products. Our hosts talk to guests about how we are working with advisers/ distributors and real customers to develop innovative products that improve the level of service to end customers.”

We are in for an exciting two weeks of Wimbledon, with the nation holding their breath in anticipation for a second win for Andy Murray. Brands too will be motivated and focused to maximise their exposure, connection with guests and consumers alike, with a view to the ultimate return on their sponsorship investment.

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