The fourth Grand Slam event of professional tennis, the US Open is now underway, the stars of the circuit battling it out, over two weeks, for a multi-million-dollar purse. This premiere event is the highest-attended athletic event in the world attracting over 729,000 visitors, and hundreds of hours of live tennis coverage and highlights on national broadcast and cable television channels throughout the world. Seems like a good deal, right? Not necessarily so.
The Lincoln division of Ford was the first auto brand to sponsor the US Open in 2000 and had special commercials shot with John McEnroe. Five years later when Lincoln opted not to renew its contract, Lexus became the sponsor and retained Andy Roddick as a spokesperson. Not coincidentally Deborah Meyer had headed marketing at both companies when the deals were made. Last year Lexus, minus Meyer, decided it, too, would not renew its sponsorship.
Long term contracts with favorable options were dumped along with the celebs. Wasn’t sponsoring paying off? Was it not worth the ROI? Didn’t it impact sales? Questions to be resolved.