ASB is taking advantage of the holiday period, its relationship with the All Blacks and new interactive camera technology in its upgraded sponsorship of the ASB Classic tennis tournaments.
The bank, which is a long time sponsor of the women’s WTA tournament, took over the naming rights for the men’s ATP tournament this year, of which Heineken was the main sponsor since 2002. This followed an announcement by the bank last year of a five-year sponsorship agreement with Tennis Auckland.
ASB executive general manager for marketing and communications Roger Beaumont told the Herald the move made sense for the company, which also sponsors NZ Rugby, the All Blacks, New Zealand Football, the Auckland Marathon and many others.
"Collectively when you talk about the naming rights fee, you combine the hospitality and entertainment and the leveraging of the sponsorship, it's a reasonably significant amount of money but clearly we feel it's worth it and worth extending that sponsorship to the men's because otherwise we wouldn't be doing it. There is a very big feel-good factor to the tournament which is great for brand association."
An ASB spokesperson also told StopPress the timing of the ASB Classic generates plenty of coverage because there’s not a lot else going on.
"The timing (first two weeks of January) is great – editorial coverage is stronger given the time of year, and the tournament gets more exposure because of that. And of course it occurs at a time when people are on holiday and relaxed. Our customers love the way the tournament kicks off the year. The feel-good factor of the ASB Classic is great for brand association."
The tournaments have improved steadily (both on and off court) and the international broadcasting rights have almost quadrupled in the past few years, according to the Herald. So it's a much more appealling proposition for brands and director Karl Budge says that because it has invested in its own brand, it has had to turn down some big offers that didn't fit with its focus.
Budge told Stuff.co.nz, "it is 60 years since the tournaments commenced in Auckland and to have our future secure thanks to the expanded support of ASB gives us real confidence in how we are viewed as a major sporting event".
ASB’s approach to sponsorship activations has stood out in recent years, with the likes of Run Down Your Rate for the Auckland Marathon, the launch of the All Blacks relationship and the ensuing business advice series, and 2015's balldogs for the ASB Classic. This year it hasn't caught quite as much attention, although it has helped create some street tennis in Newmarket and brought some All Blacks along to take a pick up a few balls and take a few selfies.
Williams, Wozniacki, Mattek-Sands and the ASB Ball Stars
Venus Williams, Caroline Wozniacki, Bethanie Mattek-Sands and introducing the #ASBClassic Ball Stars, the All Blacks.Posted by ASB Bank on Monday, January 11, 2016
On the back of their success in 2015, the All Blacks were eager to prove their ball skills aren’t confined to the rugby field, turning their hands to being tennis ball boys at the ASB Classic for the day according to Saatchi & Saatchi. The boys were also spotted holding towels and shading the tennis players from the sun during an exhibition match at Auckland’s ASB Arena between Williams, Wozniacki and Mattek-Sands in Auckland last week.
Saatchi & Saatchi creative Charlie Godinet says, "we’re really proud to work alongside ASB to deliver another great sponsorship piece, especially with the likes of Venus, Caroline, Bethanie and our very own back to back world champs."
Further crowd entertainment included a “Fan Cam”. The Brizi technology behind it allows the centre court camera to be controlled by spectators' mobiles so they can take a photo. The camera can be directed to seat numbers where photos are taken and sent to the spectator's mobile.
An ASB spokesperson says "ASB Fan Cam allows the fans themselves to create a brand experience they want to share. It’s an example of an immersive brand experience that uses the power of the crowd to increase brand reach beyond the stadium, via social media".
In true sponsorship style, the photo is framed by ASB’s logo.
Shane Evans - General Manager Marketing
Bianca Osborne - Brand Manager
Mark Graham - Head of Community & Sponsorship
Mike Wootton - Sponsorship Manager
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