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post #1 of 117 (permalink) Old 09-28-2007, 06:03 PM Thread Starter
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Falling Star: Mercedes-Benz Will Not Renew ATP Sponsorship

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Falling Star: Mercedes-Benz Will Not Renew ATP Sponsorship

By Tennis Week
09/28/2007

A sponsorship star will drive off the ATP Tour next year. Mercedes-Benz, whose familiar star logo affixed to nets has become a common sight at ATP events, will not renew its sponsorship pact with the ATP when its current three-year agreement concludes on December 31, 2008.

The departure of Mercedes-Benz, which has sponsored the ATP since 1996, is a significant loss to the tour at a time when it is preparing to launch the new-look ATP Tour in 2009.
The Mercedes-Benz/ATP partnership began in 1996 with a four-year agreement that was first extended in 1999 and renewed for a second time in 2002. As the Official Car of the ATP and the main sponsor of the Tennis Masters Cup, Mercedes-Benz provides official transportation at ATP tournaments, showcases prominent car displays at tournament sites and positions its Mercedes-Benz ‘star’ signage on nets. SMRI research found that 80 percent of tennis fans could identify Mercedes-Benz as the Official Car of the ATP.

In a release announcing the move, the ATP said it is "currently in discussions with a number of potential new sponsorship partners" however the loss of Mercedes-Benz is a big blow to the Tour. Two years ago, ATP Chairman Etienne de Villiers proclaimed the partnership between Mercedez-Benz and the ATP as "one of the most successful and visible in all of world sports."

In order for tennis' television audience to grow — which is imperative in persuading sponsors to reach into their pockets and buy commercial time during tennis telecasts — the game's governing bodies must be willing to create a cohesive schedule that builds audience attention toward the four primary peaks that are the Grand Slam tournaments.

Under de Villiers' leadership, the ATP is attempting to streamline the schedule, shorten the season and, through a mandatory player participation rule, create a competitive climate in which tennis' top stars play against each other more frequently. The ATP is planning to rebrand its tournaments to their winners ranking point levels of either "1000", "500" or "250". The new look 2009 calendar will also ensure increased investment into men’s tennis, but the loss of Mercedes-Benz may mean some sponsors are adopting a wait and see approach to the Tour's proposed changes.

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post #2 of 117 (permalink) Old 09-28-2007, 06:10 PM
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Re: Falling Star: Mercedes-Benz Will Not Renew ATP Sponsorship

That doesn't suprise me at all that MB bailed. It will be interesting to see if anyone else follows suit.
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post #3 of 117 (permalink) Old 09-28-2007, 06:20 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Falling Star: Mercedes-Benz Will Not Renew ATP Sponsorship

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Originally Posted by Kitty de Sade View Post
That doesn't suprise me at all that MB bailed. It will be interesting to see if anyone else follows suit.
Yeah, so they can focus more on golf (among other things). Just shows how big sponsors view tennis these days.

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post #4 of 117 (permalink) Old 09-28-2007, 06:23 PM
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Re: Falling Star: Mercedes-Benz Will Not Renew ATP Sponsorship

That's it tennis is dead. Meanwhile golf continues to get all the dollars.
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post #5 of 117 (permalink) Old 09-28-2007, 06:26 PM
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Re: Falling Star: Mercedes-Benz Will Not Renew ATP Sponsorship

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Originally Posted by mirkaland View Post
Yeah, so they can focus more on golf (among other things). Just shows how big sponsors view tennis these days.
Sure, because we all know that golf is in dire need of publicity, promotion, and financial support right?

I am going to try to contain myself, and not read anything more into this than need be, but if I were part of the brass, I'd be concerned. I just wonder how long they can turn a blind eye to what is going on here. To have a major player like MB jump ship is not a good sign to say the least.

Corporate sponsors are not going to back tennis unless they feel fairly certain of a decent return on their investment. It's not happening right now. Instead of trying to cram unsuccessful ideas like RR down the collective throats of the masses, the brass should be doing everything they can to remedy the situation.
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post #6 of 117 (permalink) Old 09-28-2007, 06:44 PM
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Re: Falling Star: Mercedes-Benz Will Not Renew ATP Sponsorship

Well in terms of the money they bring in (do you have any numbers?) I don't think they are irreplacable. But MB is a classy sign and one that ATP probably likes being associated with. Walmart could bring in that same money, but presenting "Walmart-ATP events" will not have that edge. It will make the WTF championships exactly that!
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post #7 of 117 (permalink) Old 09-28-2007, 06:47 PM
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Re: Falling Star: Mercedes-Benz Will Not Renew ATP Sponsorship

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Originally Posted by FedFan_2007 View Post
That's it tennis is dead. Meanwhile golf continues to get all the dollars.
That's what happens when you have one of the most marketable guys ever as the #1 in your sport

Tennis needs Nadal to become #1 if it wants to get the $$$ flooding in
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post #8 of 117 (permalink) Old 09-28-2007, 06:49 PM
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Re: Falling Star: Mercedes-Benz Will Not Renew ATP Sponsorship

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The ATP is planning to rebrand its tournaments to their winners ranking point levels of either "1000", "500" or "250". The new look 2009 calendar will also ensure increased investment into men’s tennis, but the loss of Mercedes-Benz may mean some sponsors are adopting a wait and see approach to the Tour's proposed changes.
This reminds me of a hilarious rant James Martin posted over at ESPN:

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What's in a name?
by: James Martin, TENNIS.com
September 12, 2007

Like most tennis fans, I suffer from an inferiority complex. How can I help it when tennis is given short shrift in the mainstream media? Just this past weekend, I had to wait for the U.S. Open men's final to start because a football game hadn't ended. And after all that waiting I get …Liza Minnelli.

Such is life. I've come to accept that the American public will never embrace tennis the way it loves its football. I get it: Football has blood and broken bones, egomaniacal players, and those awesome pregame shows with so much faux male bonding that I grow chest hair just watching it.

Pass the beer, bro.

Tennis will never become a huge, Joe Six-pack sport and that's fine by me. The pro game should wear its niche colors proudly. But it doesn't. Commentators (yeah, you, Dick Enberg and John McEnroe, to name just two) incessantly talk about ways to "fix" the sport, which only reinforces its inferiority complex.

And the powers-that-be often shoot the game in the foot by dreaming up Byzantine ways to keep tennis as marginal as possible, or make it sound as cheesy as possible. You only have to watch the U.S. Open trophy ceremony -- an annual rite of crass game-show-style commercialism -- to see that.

But the award for bone-headed play of this season goes to the ATP. Just recently, it announced that in 2009 it's replacing the nine Masters Series events with nine "1000" status tournaments. Catchy, isn't it?

Granted, this is just a change in name (it's the same nine tournaments), but it's a dumb change. The Masters Series actually has been one of the few marketing success stories in pro tennis over the past couple decades. The name has built up some cache.

That's all gone the way of the wood racket now.

By the way, there are also 500 and 250 level tournaments; the numbers, in case you didn't know (and why would you?) tie into the total number of points awarded to the winner of each tournament. The ATP says this branding will work based on "extensive consumer research" and make the tour more "fan friendly." I agree, if those fans have a fetish for meaningless numbers.

Earlier this summer, the ATP also renamed its season-ending event. No longer the Masters Cup, in 2009 it will be called the ATP World Tour Finals -- otherwise known as W.T.F. Which is also short for What the … ?

One of pro tennis' greatest struggles is to help fans understand which tournaments, out of the gazillion played each year, matter most. The women's tour has done a terrible job at this. Yes, they have Tier I events, but can you tell me which ones are designated as Tier I? Or how many there are? Thought not.

The branding of the Masters Series was simple. "Masters" signifies importance. And before it was called the Masters Series it was dubbed the "Super Nine," another basic, intuitive branding. But 1000? It's relatively meaningless. How will fans know there's not a 2000 level event? Or a 1,000,000-level event?

Leave it to tennis to mess up one of the few things that actually works.

This is change for change's sake, and will serve to yet again confuse the fans and make them want to watch football. Speaking of which, I hear the NFL is renaming the Super Bowl the Inter-Galactic Football Championship Finals.

"What kind of shape am I in now? Well round is a shape." said Roddick with a laugh. "I had a very detailed retirement plan, and I feel like I've met every aspect of it: a lot of golf, a lot of carbs, a lot of fried food, and some booze, occasionally — I've been completely committed ... The results have shown."


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post #9 of 117 (permalink) Old 09-28-2007, 06:52 PM
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Re: Falling Star: Mercedes-Benz Will Not Renew ATP Sponsorship

MB must have seen deClown's proposed changes and bailed on the ATP tour.

good decision.

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post #10 of 117 (permalink) Old 09-28-2007, 06:52 PM
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Re: Falling Star: Mercedes-Benz Will Not Renew ATP Sponsorship

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Tennis needs Nadal to become #1
what the point if Nadal #1 or #2?
Is it influence on the people's choise? I bet it's not.

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post #11 of 117 (permalink) Old 09-28-2007, 06:53 PM
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Re: Falling Star: Mercedes-Benz Will Not Renew ATP Sponsorship

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Originally Posted by R.Federer View Post
Well in terms of the money they bring in (do you have any numbers?) I don't think they are irreplacable. But MB is a classy sign and one that ATP probably likes being associated with. Walmart could bring in that same money, but presenting "Walmart-ATP events" will not have that edge. It will make the WTF championships exactly that!


It might make tennis more accessible for those who are intimidated by the amount of money you need to drop to see a tournament where all their favorite players are playing.
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post #12 of 117 (permalink) Old 09-28-2007, 07:08 PM
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Re: Falling Star: Mercedes-Benz Will Not Renew ATP Sponsorship

Mercedes Benz provides cars for many, many ATP tournaments and that is a huge part of the value of their contract. I cannot imagine how much it would cost a tournament to rent roughly 20 cars for 10 days. It will also kind of suck for the players to be in a different car every week. If by chance they ever got a dodgy driver, at least they knew the Benz had good brakes and multiple air bags.

This decision doesn't surprise me at all, unfortunately. I've been hearing rumors of MB pulling out or dropping certain tournaments for a few years, but somehow the ATP managed to hang on to them. I guess all these ridicuous changes were the last nails in the coffin. Very sorry to see them go and I don't see Lexus or Infinity or anyone else stepping up to take their place.

Best twitter posts of the epic match:

@dougrobson - Whoever is supplying Mahut with hair gel needs to ink a sponsorship deal now.

@Wimbledon - FYI, with @Wimbledon live scoring devices, please add 50 to the games in the fifth set of the Isner v Mahut match.

@HolterMedia - Nice to see that a three-day test has come to tennis here @wimbledon.



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post #13 of 117 (permalink) Old 09-28-2007, 07:10 PM
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Re: Falling Star: Mercedes-Benz Will Not Renew ATP Sponsorship

like omg?
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post #14 of 117 (permalink) Old 09-28-2007, 07:16 PM
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Re: Falling Star: Mercedes-Benz Will Not Renew ATP Sponsorship

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Originally Posted by adeegee!. View Post
That's what happens when you have one of the most marketable guys ever as the #1 in your sport

Tennis needs Nadal to become #1 if it wants to get the $$$ flooding in

I dont know how much money underware companies and antiinflammatory drug manufacturers would bring to the ATP.

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post #15 of 117 (permalink) Old 09-28-2007, 07:20 PM
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Re: Falling Star: Mercedes-Benz Will Not Renew ATP Sponsorship

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Originally Posted by fmolinari2005 View Post
I dont know how much money underware companies and antiinflammatory drug manufacturers would bring to the ATP.
when and if nadal becomes #1, Pfizer and Merck will start sponsoring the ATP tour.

There are 10^11 stars in the galaxy. That used to be a huge number. But it's only a hundred billion. It's less than the national deficit! We used to call them astronomical numbers. Now we should call them economical numbers.

-Richard Feynman

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