Mastercard and Tennis Australia (TA) today announced a brand new partnership that will see the payments giant serve as the official payment partner for the Australian Open and naming rights partner for the Mastercard Hopman Cup.As part of the collaboration, Mastercard will be involved in a variety of Australian Open lead-up events, including launch activities in Tokyo, Shanghai and Singapore; as well as becoming an official partner of the Emirates Australian Open Series tournaments in Sydney, Hobart and Adelaide.
Tennis Australia Commercial Director Richard Heaselgrave is pleased to welcome Mastercard to the Australian Open partner family.
“We are delighted to join forces with Mastercard and welcome them to our partner family, as the official payment partner for the Australian Open and some of our AO Series tournaments, as well as the naming rights partner for the Mastercard Hopman Cup,” Heaselgrave said.
“As a prestigious international brand with a focus on innovation, Mastercard aligns perfectly with our values and particularly our efforts in global promotion and tourism.
“Establishing close relationships with some of the world’s best brands, such as Mastercard, is a vital part of our growth strategy, and one that will benefit all our fans, both in Australia and around the world.”
Sam Ahmed, senior vice president, Marketing, Asia Pacific, Mastercard, said, “The beauty of sport is in those Priceless moments – a nail biting finish, a winning try, a triumphant underdog, or, in tennis it’s the comeback from two sets down, or the deuce to extend match point. Sport has the power to connect and bring truly Priceless moments to life.
“We know that impactful partnerships drive transactions by emphasizing to millions of fans the benefits of being a Mastercard cardholder.
“Our partnership with Tennis Australia will allow us to showcase our broad range of products that will no doubt make the spectator experience even more Priceless, whether you’re sitting beside center court or watching from the comfort of your couch.
“We are excited to work with Tennis Australia to see what Priceless moments we can create and celebrate together.”
Priceless Opportunity to Connect With Travelers
The partnership with Tennis Australia provides Mastercard with yet another key platform to connect and engage deeply with cardholders, specifically the affluent traveler.
Australian Open 2016 set a new attendance record with 720,363 spectators, thirteenpercent of these spectators visited from overseas making the tournament a significant tourism driver for Australia during the summer period.
Travelers from New Zealand, UK and the US led the charge in visitor numbers in January this year, and the country saw a 25 percent growth in visitors from Asian markets, with travelers from China and Japan making up the majority of international visitors at the Australian Open.
According to Mastercard’s SpendingPulse report, the increase in visitors also resulted in a healthy injection of spend in the local economy.
Bars and restaurants were a major beneficiary of the increase in non-business travel; spend from British travelers was up 50 percent year-on-year, and American spending up 80 percent year-on-year in January – the strongest month of growth seen this year.
The tournament also helped drive spend in recreation, with British visitors spending 26 percent more on recreation in Australia in the last two weeks of January than they did the year prior. Americans also spent 30 percent more on recreation in January than the year prior.
“The Australian Open is one of the world’s favorite major sporting events, with 13 per cent of spectators travelling from overseas to watch the biggest names in tennis battle it out at Rod Laver Arena,” Ahmed said.
“Cardholders can now look forward to an exciting array of experiences featuring their favorite tennis stars as a key part of a Priceless Melbourne experience, creating unforgettable memories with Mastercard.”
Building Mastercard’s Sports Sponsorship Portfolio
Mastercard has a long history of supporting international tennis tournaments and currently sponsors Roland-Garros and the Miami Open.
The partnership with Tennis Australia extends and builds on Mastercard’s existing suite of sports and entertainment-oriented partnerships. Today’s announcement caps off a successful year announcing deals with a number of major sporting events including 2016 Copa America Centenar and Union of European Football Associations (UEFA).
Specifically in Asia-Pacific, the Mastercard brand is synonymous with international ambassadors Hugh Jackman, Lang Lang, Neil Perry, Richie McCaw, Anil Kapoor, Hiroyuki Fujita, and a suite of entertainment properties including the Sydney Opera House, Mastercard Theatres at Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands, and Fashion Week Tokyo
The brands major global sponsorships properties include the PGA TOUR, The Open Championship, UEFA Champions League, 2015 Rugby World Cup, Major League Baseball, the GRAMMY Awards, and Cannes Film Festival.
According to Mr Ahmed, Mastercard’s sports and entertainment sponsorship strategy constantly evolves and changes based on business needs.
“Successful sports and entertainment partnerships can no longer be about brand experience. Our strategy must demonstrate a seamless marriage between brand and product in order to drive consumer spend. And as cardholders’ needs and expectations change as to what constitutes a positive brand and product experience, so must our approach to bringing that to life through sponsorships.”
“The collaboration with Tennis Australia offers us a way to showcase to consumers the benefits of being a Mastercard cardholder in a tangible way. From purchasing tickets online and booking travel, to paying for your transport to the tennis and purchasing food, drinks and merchandise, we can demonstrate to cardholders how fast, easy and safe it is rely on your Mastercard to make it all happen for you.”