Wimbledon is one of the four Grand Slam Touraments and arguably the most popular of all tennis tournaments in the world.
The event which started June 29th this year and will go on until July 12th, boasts of a 137 year old history, with its roots proudly steeped in aristrocracy, tradition and heritage. While other sporting events of this scale and repute have turned into lucrative vehicles of advertising, brand endorsements and asscoiations, Wimbledon chooses to be selective and minimalistic.
“The Club has always sought to retain the unique image and character of The Championships and has successfully achieved this over many years by developing long-term mutually beneficial Official Supplier agreements with a range of blue-chip brands, as well as specifically not commercialising the Grounds overtly.”- Says the official Wimbledon website.
The Wimbledon Championships have strong roots in tradition, which means they forgo conventional sponsorship and advertising models in favor of genuine brand partnerships that add value to the event, and for consumers. Official sponsors must be genuinely consumer-centric, use a spot of creativity, and get into the spirit of the tournament in order to win marketing moments at the event.”
The players, the best of tennis, are to this day required to sport an all-white tennis uniform- breaking away from the brand-leaden uniforms of the other sports players at world tournaments like the Wimbldon. Sponsorship messages are low key and strictly product driven, while in-stadium branding is almost non existent.
This exclusivity however puts the very brands that do share the Wimbledon name enjoy a certain place of pride as a brand.
Here is a roundup of all the brands, few as they are, that have been associated with Wimbledon.
1. Rolex: Official Timekeeper
Rolex, the tournament’s “Official Timekeeper” since 1978, has managed to nurture a strong brand presence at the event by embracing traditional values and not overtly pushing its own brand messaging, while also providing a useful service at the event. In fact, the only place you’ll see Rolex logos at Wimbledon is on clocks around the venue, and on the official scoreboards.
2. Slazenger: Official Tennis Ball Supplier
Part of the longest partnership in sporting goods history, Slazenger has been the Official Supplier of tennis balls to The Championships since 1902. Slazenger will supply 52,000 balls for this year’s tournament, each of which will be tested for weight, bounce and compression.
3. Pimms Official Cocktail
Described as one of the two official drinks at Wimbledon” Pimms is an English liquer brand. Served more colloquially as “Pimm’s Cup” the drink is enjoyed at the hallowed Wimbledon stadiums, with a side of other favourite and English classic Strawberries and cream.
4. Jacob’s creek: Official Wine
Jacob’s Creek, the Australian icon brand is proudly tasked with pouring wine at The Championships since 2011.
“Wimbledon and Jacob’s Creek have much in common both having significant international appeal and both have captured the imagination of millions. “
5. IBM: Official Technology Partner
What’s a huge technology company doing at a sporting event you wonder?
“Deep underground, the IBM bunker keeps the technological tennis tournament ticking.” This is where all of the data—some 3.2 million new data points per championships—is processed by Watson and other big data technologies, for use by the commentators, the TV and Internet video feeds, and on the Wimbledon.com website and apps. “For 26 years IBM has been supporting the All England Lawn Tennis Club and The Championships in its mission to be the premiere tennis tournament in the world. “
6. Stella Artois: Official Beer
A new entrant to the private brands club of Wimbledon, Stella Artois came to the fold in 2014 when it entered into a 5 year contract with Wimbledon. The brand on its specially created Wimbledon microsite has a live feed of the scores at the Championship, player trivia and an engagement plug. Given how advertising is strictly regulated at Wimbledon, Stella Artois has conceptualised a great way to build into the heritage, with two touchpoints. One is using the official mascot of Wimbledon, Rufus the hawk, as a plug in a creative video and the other through creative storytelling.
6. Ralph Lauren: Official Merchandise
Polo Ralph Lauren is the first designer in the history of The Championships to partner with The All England Lawn Tennis Club and outfit all Wimbledon on-court officials. The Wimbledon collection is available at Ralph Lauren stores, The Centre Court Shop (Wimbledon), exclusive fashion stores and polo.com.
7. Evian- Official Water
Evian is a premium water brand and perfectly goes with the heritage and high-profile attendance at Wimbledon. As part of its efforts to leverage the partnership on social media, it is attempting to unite the Wimbledon fan community through #wimblewatch, a daily content series created by We Are Social and filmed in Evian’s “Live Young” suite at Wimbledon. Shazam’s new visual recognition feature will take anyone who Shazam’s Evian’s print ads direct to its mobile content hub. Fans can get involved by tweeting using the #wimblewatch hashtag.
8. Jaguar Land Rover: Official Transport
Jaguar and Land Rover will supply 170 luxury and high performance vehicles to support tournament operations. To strengthen the engagement during the Championships, Jaguar is handing out biometric wearable devices to spectators on the two main courts at Wimbledon, as well as to crowds watching matches on a big screen in the grounds.
The devices are being used to measure energy and excitement levels around the tournament. An infographic — created from the data captured — will be beamed live across digital billboards at key London locations including Piccadilly Circus, and featured on social media feeds and a dedicated website.
9. Solly Sport: Official Apparel Licensee in India
And closer home, Allen Solly, a now Indian fashion and lifestyle brand which has its roots in Notthingham UK, has partnered with Wimbledon to promote its casual line called Solly Sport. Under this partnership, Solly Sport is licensed to use the Wimbledon branding on its special Wimbledon range of men’s apparel. Apart from social media engagement and advertising and a specially created website, associating the brand with the 5 year Wimbledon partnership, Solly Sport had this TVC shot at a Wimbledon court.