Wimbledon is the most prestigious tennis tournament in the world and the pressure is mounting on the remaining players as the competition draws to a close. Britain's number one Andy Murray is the bookmakers' favourite to win the tournament, but which sponsor won most media profile during the event?
Britvic's Robinsons was crowned the winner of best sports sponsorship for its role as a preferred partner for the Wimbledon Tennis Championship, according to a study analysing the effectiveness of sponsors at five of the biggest sporting events in 2015.
Robinsons was successful in the 2015 Brand Agility Index which analysed the effectiveness of sponsors across: Wimbledon; The Ashes; The Open; World Championship Athletics and Silverstone F1. Robinsons topped a list of 19 brands and was credited for its tenacious and 'out of the box' approach to engaging its audience.
Wimbledon still commands the most prestige of any tennis tournament around the world and the pressure will be mounting for the last contenders as they near the final. Britain's number one Andy Murray is the bookmakers' favourite to win and with Murray poised to achieve his second Wimbledon title the tournament has been well covered in the media.
Official suppliers, not sponsors
For the brands associated with Wimbledon, the luxury setting, high-profile attendees and huge global viewing figures offer a unique brand building exercise and exposure to an ABC1 audience. Organisers of the tournament have maintained the aesthetic prestige of the tournament by "specifically not commercialising the Grounds overtly" but income from sponsors is an important part of the Lawn Tennis Association's funding and central to the tournament's viability. Partner sponsors act as 'official suppliers' to the tournament and provide goods and services used for its staging.
Sports brand Slazenger is the tournament's oldest preferred partner and has been the official tennis ball supplier since 1902 as part of the longest partnership in sporting goods history. Slazenger will supply 52,000 balls for the 2016 tournament, with each tested for weight, bounce and compression.
Robinsons is the official soft drink supplier and second longest partnership having established the relationship in 1935. Robinson's lemon barley water flavour squash was invented specifically for use in the 1935 tournament.
IBM has been the official technology supplier since 1990 and provides the interactive equipment and services that enhance the attendee and viewer experience by measuring and presenting real-time analysis including player statistics such as speed of serve and real time match statistics. In recent years IBM has provided commentators with mobile and digital solutions to enhance coverage of the tournament around the world.
Media analysis shows a clear leader
Using Nexis Analyser, we looked at the three Wimbledon partner brands to see how much media profile the huge commercial sponsorship campaigns have generated over this year's tournament. Analysing each of the brand's profile against the Wimbledon Championship's media profile shows Robinsons has maintained its very effective marketing campaign in 2016. The squash brand is a clear leader in terms of brand association with the tournament, with IBM experiencing a short spike in coverage as the tournament commenced and Slazenger experiencing very little additional attention.
Analysing each brand's national media profile in the three months leading up to the tournament shows an even stronger position for Robinsons. The brand experiences regular spikes in media coverage, such as during the launch of the new Robinsons squash flavour – lemon and pink grapefruit – where the brand capitalised on the attention by announcing limited edition packaging exclusively for the Wimbledon Championship.
Keep your eye on the ball
Robinsons' success year after year demonstrates the effectiveness of multi-channel marketing support for brand sponsorship campaigns. Brands need to invest not only in the event sponsorship but in their own communications programmes to associate the brand with the event. Robinsons also strives to innovate its campaign year-on-year to provide something unique, fresh and exciting. The brand has employed a dedicated social media team to personally respond to questions and comments from fans and used successful campaigns such as #tasteofwimbledon.
Crucially, Robinsons has embraced the latest technology in its marketing campaigns, including thermo-reactive posters, a 3D billboard at Waterloo Station and virtual reality headsets that transport fans into the Umpire's chair in Centre Court to see a 360 degrees view of the game.
There are many factors behind Robinsons' success as a Wimbledon sponsor but central to its strategy is focus. The brand focuses exclusively on the Wimbledon tournament and as such has become the household name associated with the tennis championship. Gareth Davies, Head of Digital and Insight at the firm behind the Brand Agility Index, commented: "Robinsons is proof that that a 'pick one event and go big' strategy is what works".
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