Sponsors Add Latino Flavor To Miami Open Tennis

What: The Miami Open, one of the five largest tennis tournaments in the world, has a strong roster of Latino partners led by Presenting Sponsor Itaú.
Why it matters: Situated in a strong Hispanic market and moving even deeper into a dense Hispanic population next year, the event is an increasingly valuable property for marketers.

Play has begun in the main draw of the Miami Open (@MiamiOpen), which is completing its last year of competition at its longtime home, the Tennis Center at Crandon Park Key Biscayne, Fla., and moving north to Hard Rock Stadium in Miami next year. While that has occasioned some consternation among tennis traditionalists in South Florida, the increase in acreage, courts and various accompanying sponsor areas could open up more partnership opportunities, including those courting the Latino fan base, for whom the Hard Rock's adjoining Florida Turnpike may offer easier access than the Rickenbacker Causeway to the Keys has.

Latino companies abound among the roster of sponsors for the event, which has spanned more than three decades with various names, prominently the Lipton Championships and Ericsson, NASDAQ-100 and Sony Ericsson Open. Three years ago, Itaú (@itau), headquartered in Brazil, became the presenting sponsor, and boasting 5,000 branches in Latin America, it is the most visible Latino brand on the Key Biscayne grounds.

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But it's far from the only one. Latin American telecommunications giant Claró and Juan Valdez coffee (@JuanValdezCafe), the popular brand name of the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation, are at the Host Sponsor level, among such international brands as FedEx, Lacoste, MasterCard and Peugeot. The Brazilian high-end tennis tour agency Faberg (@fabergtour) rounds out the list.

The companies that align themselves with the Miami Open get the best of both worlds, an association with the best players in the world at a time when tennis is just coming into focus in North America this year, and the ability to showcase their brand as best in class across both the Latin American and American tennis audience.

"As a legacy sport that reaches a high net worth audience, tennis, especially an event like Miami that is now being transformed under Steve Ross, is still a prime activation spot for brands," said Chris

Roger Federer practicing on Wednesday at the Miami Open

Lencheski, longtime sports marketer now at MP & Silva as well as teaching at Columbia University. "The companies that align themselves with the Miami Open get the best of both worlds, an association with the best players in the world at a time when tennis is just coming into focus in North America this year, and the ability to showcase their brand as best in class across both the Latin American and American tennis audience. It's a smart play on both sides."

March and August are the two months during which the tennis world focuses on the U.S. Annually following the successful WTA Premier and ATP 1000 event in Indian Wells, Calif., another high-profile, two-week tournament in a region with high Hispanic influence, Miami has often billed itself as the "fifth major." That status, during a time when the sport gets so much attention here, has made it a good fit for marketers.

Even more so than in Indian Wells, Latino brands have connected to the multicultural fan base in Key Biscayne. The move 25 miles north into the more densely populated Miami Gardens, potentially accessible to tens of thousands more fans, many of Hispanic heritage, gives Miami Open partners a huge advantage in reaching that base.

Check out the stars of Portada's Sports Marketing Board, who will meet at Portada Miami on April 18-19 to discuss various topics related to the future of marketing and innovation in sports. Register now!

cover image courtesy Miami Open

Jerry Milani @gbpackjerry

Jerry Milani is a freelance writer and public relations executive living in Bloomfield, N.J. He has worked in P.R. for more than 25 years in college and conference sports media relations, two agencies and for the International Fight League, a team-based mixed martial arts league, and now is the PR manager for Wizard World, which runs pop culture and celebrity conventions across North America. Milani is also the play-by-play announcer for Caldwell University football and basketball broadcasts. He is a proud graduate of Fordham University and when not attending a Yankees, Rams or Cougars game can be reached at Jerry (at) JerryMilani (dot) com.

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