Tennis Taking Over In New York As Open Nears

Tennis Taking Over In New York As Open Nears

Sports Business

Tennis Taking Over In New York As Open Nears

Maria Sharapova watches people from her Nike ad as they scurry across 34th Street and from various Evian ads as they head for busses and subways. Roger Federer is resplendent in his ad for Rolex. And Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki are among the players on TV commercials and posters telling people that “It Must Be Love.”

Actually, what it must be is the week before the U.S. Open grand slam tennis tournament in New York. Even with the NFL back in play and the New York Yankees driving for the MLB post-season, green balls and tennis (not basketball) courts have become top-of-mind.

Defending U.S. Open men’s singles champion Rafael Nadal made an appearance on Aug. 23 for Bacardi USA, telling people that “champions drink responsibly.”

“As a tennis player, I like to enjoy a drink with friends and my team, but as I say in one of the `Champions Drink Responsibly’ ads, I know where to draw the line,” Nadal said during a public appearance in Manhattan. “It’s important to stay in control on the court and on a night out to be there for your friends and to make sure everyone enjoys themselves safely.”

Nadal appears in a print and outdoor campaign for Bacardi, offering Nadal up the recipe for the non-alcoholic Rafa Berry Smash (a combination of fresh berries, fresh cranberry and pomegranate juice) while promoting the brand’s message.

“Bacardi has historically been committed to educating consumers about responsible drinking ensuring they can make informed choices about how they consume alcohol,” Robert Furniss-Roe, president of Bacardi USA, said in a statement. “Since `Champions Drink Responsibly’ was launched, this global campaign has reached more than 37 million consumers across the world. We are excited the United States company is showcasing this important social message in our market and to celebrate Rafa Nadal here in New York.”

Elsewhere, DirecTV, the exclusive provider of the interactive U.S. Open Experience, is calling on tennis legends and stars preparing for the 2011 event to appear at and play in the “DirecTV Old School Challenge presented by ESPN” on Aug. 25.

Among the scheduled participants will be the Bryan Brothers, John McEnroe, Pete Sampras and Ivan Lendl.  The invitation-only event will be broadcast on DirecTV’s Audience Network, the Tennis Channel and DirecTV’s Regional Sports Networks.

American Express has partnered with tennis icon Chris Evert to support the second year of American Express’ Next Contenders program and provide insight into the up-and-coming players in tennis. Evert and current rising stars John Isner and Victoria Azarenka have also been providing tennis fans with information on what’s happening on and off the courts leading up to the U.S. Open.

According to Evert, “This program not only brings tennis fans closer to the action, it also promotes the game and its players.”

The U.S. Open runs from Aug. 31-Sept. 11.

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