Brands collaborate to offer prime tennis real estate for Heineken Open

Heineken is giving two lucky people the chance of enjoying the 2014 Heineken Open tennis action from a specially designed pop-up apartment overlooking centre court at ASB Tennis Arena.

The competition has been launched on the Heineken Live website as part of an eight-week promotional campaign that will lead into the tournament’s 6 January commencement date. And Karl Budge, the tournament director for Tennis Auckland, is excited about the project saying, “[Heineken] is creating a really cool, unique space that has never been seen before.”

While this competition does in a sense bring fruition to the beer commercial favourite of a rooftop party, it offers much more than a simple open-air dance floor.


The apartment, which will sit atop Next Generation Club, will be kitted out with a veritable exhibition of major brands. Panasonic will provide electronics, Nood will take care of furnishings, The Sky City Restaurant group will cater to grumbling bellies and a well-stocked Heineken fridge will provide thirst-quenching services. 

When asked about the willingness of the brands to collaborate on the project, Heineken marketing manager Jennifer Macindoe says, “Everyone is trying to pitch in and make the event better. It’s not about one brand. It’s about showing that tennis is growing, and that it can be fun and exciting.” 

And Budge concurs with this sentiment by adding, “Brands are happy to get involved. Ticket sales are high, there’s the high-profile sports buzz and there’s huge international exposure with the broadcasting of the event.”

The success of the tournament is largely due to its ability to attract big stars every year. And the 2014 tournament has continued this trend by featuring the likes of four-time champion David Ferrer, former French number one Gaël Monfils and the up-and-coming South African Kevin Anderson.

Budge explains that the television broadcast of the ATP-listed event will reach hundreds of millions of people throughout the world, and that this type of exposure is difficult to get in New Zealand.

In addition to media exposure, Budge also points to the affluent target market as a reason why brands have been so keen to become involved with sponsoring different elements of the tournament.

“We have a real point of difference over other events, because these tournaments have a very premium nature. And this gives brands a chance to communicate and engage with a more affluent target market.”  

He says that most of the people who purchase the tickets fall under the $100,000 per annum salary bracket, which is really appealing to brands that would like to get a share of the disposable income that comes with the viewership.

Given that tennis has such great marketing potential, Tennis Auckland recently launched the New Zealand Festival of Tennis, an umbrella brand that centralises the commercial management of the Heineken Open and the ASB Classic. Now, instead of being marketed as disparate entities, the tournaments are seen as part of bigger scheme that aims to increase interest in tennis. 

Thus far, the new approach has worked well, with Heineken, Panasonic, Wilson and BMW all extending their sponsorship deals. In addition to this, Budge and his team have also managed to strike new deals with SkyCity Catering, Fonterra, Better Drinks Company and a premier Champagne producer that has still not been unveiled. Budge says that these deals have resulted in revenue to the tune of three million dollars.

When asked about how the brands are getting along, Budge says, “It’s going really well. Everyone has bought into the concept, and they appreciate that it’s in their best interest to collaborate. There’s a real synergy between all the brands involved.”

He attributes much of the programme’s success to the elite status of the tournaments, and says that they have been very selective when it comes to introducing new brands into the fray.   

“We’ve gotten to the fortunate stage of being in a position to turn away certain brands. At this stage, it is very important that we keep the family [of brands]consistent across the board,” he says.

According to Budge, the pop-up apartment, which will be unveiled next Wednesday, will only be the first in list of PR stunts that Heineken and various other brands plan to release over the next eight weeks. 

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