Aegon, the pensions and life insurance company, has been unveiled as the headline sponsor of the Queen’s Club tennis tournament as part of a landmark, five-year deal with British Tennis. Aegon takes over from InBev lager brand Stella Artois, which had been associated with the tournament for 30 years.
The men’s grass court tournament, held in the run-up to Wimbledon, will be renamed the Aegon Championships from next year.
As the first lead partner of British Tennis, Aegon will be involved in all aspects of the sport including the parks and schools programmes, supporting key junior elite athletes as well as holding naming rights to other grass court events at Eastbourne, the Aegon International, and Edgbaston, the Aegon Classic.
The partnership is the result of a new commercial programme announced in May. Its deal will run from 2009 to 2013.
The sponsorship also marks a change in strategy for Aegon, which has previously concentrated its marketing on business-to-business initiatives and marketing to intermediaries.
It has appointed Edinburgh-based Leith Agency as its first strategic advertising agency and wants to build a consumer brand (MW.co.uk, September 15). It has been promoting the Aegon brand ahead of Scottish Equitable, which it acquired in 1994, since 2006 but admits it must raise the brand’s profile.
Aegon UK marketing director Steve Clode, who joined from Nationwide last year, says the sponsorship marks a “significant step forward” in its brand strategy. He says: “As the lead partner of British Tennis, Aegon has an exceptional opportunity to develop our brand in the UK market.”
LTA director of communications and commercial, Bruce Philips, says that now a lead partner has been appointed the body will look at other aspects of its commercial programme.