Sanex pulls plug on tennis deal

Sara Lee skincare brand Sanex is pulling out of its $40m (£26m) five-year title sponsorship deal of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) two years early, amid speculation that the agreement is riddled with problems.

Sara Lee skincare brand Sanex is pulling out of its $40m (&£26m) five-year title sponsorship deal of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) two years early, amid speculation that the agreement is riddled with problems.

As well as title sponsorship of the WTA tour and the women’s rankings, the deal, which was signed in November 1999, includes signage and hospitality throughout the tour, with the exception of north America. At launch it was trumpeted by both parties as the biggest sponsorship deal ever signed in women’s tennis.

However, later on this week the organisations are expected to announce the end of this agreement, which was negotiated by IMG. The WTA has already started to look for a new title sponsor to preferably take over the sponsorship in January 2003.

Tim Crow, director of consultancy at Karen Earl, says the deal was plagued with problems such as lack of promotion of the link-up through above-the-line advertising and PR. Crow says the fact that the WTA tour does not include grand slam events such as Wimbledon meant it was severely disadvantaged as “in most markets tennis isn’t on people’s radars unless the majors are happening”.

He also claims Sanex did not secure enough top-flight players to wear its logo. Martina Hingis, who did sign up with Sanex, has spent long spells injured and has been taken over in terms of popularity and ranking by the Williams’ sisters.

Latest from Marketing Week

NOT REGISTERED? IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email subscriptions@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here