LaLiga nets Davis Cup sponsorship as Porsche extends with WTA
Soccer is meeting tennis in a new partnership in which Spain’s LaLiga will support the revamped Davis Cup, the annual men’s national teams competition.
Under the four-year deal announced on Thursday, the Spanish league says it will promote the new Davis Cup Finals through its international broadcasts in Europe, Asia, Africa, USA and Latin America.
The on-air campaign will run alongside LaLiga matches in October ahead of the Finals, involving the leading 18 countries, at the Caja Mágica stadium in Madrid on 18 to 24 November.
In addition, LaLiga, which claims to have a global reach of 2.7 billion viewers, is acting as the official sponsor of the Davis Cup qualifiers taking place around the world today and tomorrow in which 24 countries will compete for 12 places on offer at the Finals.
The six countries that have already qualified are Croatia, France, USA, Spain, Argentina and Great Britain.
LaLiga is not new to the Davis Cup having sponsored Spain’s tie in India in 2016, and its other sponsorship activity includes a partnership with the Renault Formula 1 team that began last February.
The International Tennis Federation has introduced a new format for the Davis Cup on the back of a 25-year, $3-billion partnership with Kosmos, founded by Spanish soccer star Gerard Piqué, and with significant financial backing from Hiroshi Mikitani, chairman and chief executive of Rakuten, the Japanese e-commerce company.
Reform of the Davis Cup and the women’s Fed Cup has been driven by ITF president David Haggerty since he was elected in September 2015, proposing new formats and events that would increase sponsorship revenue for the two events by $20 million by 2020.
BNP Paribas, the France-based banking giant, remains the title sponsor of both the Davis Cup and Fed Cup in a deal running to 2021.
Welcoming the new deal, Haggerty said: “The cross-sport partnership with LaLiga is innovative for the Davis Cup. This will widen our reach to not only tennis fans but other sports enthusiasts. One of our strategic initiatives is to grow tennis and this allows us to reach many more fans in new and diverse ways.”
Oscar Mayo, the international business development director of LaLiga, added: “LaLiga is pleased to partner with Kosmos Tennis and the ITF as it represents a great opportunity to link our brand and those of our clubs with a worldwide sport and entertainment icon.
“The fact that Spain, our home market, will host the first two editions of the Davis Cup Finals and, that other strategic markets for us are being considered to host future editions, have been key in our decision to go ahead with this sponsorship agreement."
The draw for the 2019 Finals will take place in Madrid on 14 February.
The revamped Davis Cup is going up against men’s professional tennis’ 24-team ATP Cup, which is due to launch in Australia in January 2020.
Debate has raged for months as to whether tennis, which already has a crowded calendar, can have two national team tournaments, but neither the ITF nor the ATP has been willing to cede defeat, albeit Haggerty has maintained that they could yet merge.
Meanwhile, Porsche, the renowned German car manufacturer, has renewed its global partnership with the WTA, the top women’s tennis tour.
The length and financial terms of the renewal, announced today, have not been disclosed.
Porsche will remain the official and exclusive automotive partner of the WTA and the end-of-season WTA Finals, which are moving to Shenzhen in China this year.
The car maker will also continue as the title sponsor of the season-long WTA Finals qualification campaign, comprising 53 WTA tournaments and the four grand slams, and now known as the Porsche Race to Shenzhen.
The company, whose relationship with the Tour dates back to 1978 via the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix still held in its home city of Stuttgart, became a sponsor of the WTA Finals in 2015, and stepped up to support the year-long qualification campaign in 2017.
Last year, it became the title sponsor of the related WTA Fantasy Tennis online game, which has now been rebranded as the Porsche Race to Shenzhen Challenge, and expanded to include more tournaments and enhancements.
WTA president Micky Lawler said today: “The WTA is delighted to extend this very successful partnership with Porsche. Women’s tennis is experiencing an unprecedented period of growth and popularity, and we look forward to working with Porsche to enhance the WTA experience all over the world.”