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Kia serves up about $50 million at Oz Open

Tennis smash: Kia has added another five years to its Australian Tennis Open sponsorship in a deal thought to be worth up $50 million.

Another five years of tennis for Kia takes grand slam sponsorship out to 2018

Kia logo11 Jan 2013

KIA Motors Corporation has announced one of the largest sports sponsorship deals in Australian history with a five-year major sponsor commitment to the Australian Tennis Open in Melbourne.

Reportedly worth up to $50 million in money and other contributions – including a fleet of 101 loan vehicles during this year’s tournament in Melbourne – the deal extends the South Korean motor company’s sponsorship to 2018.

This will take Kia’s sponsorship of the event to 17 years, making it the longest-serving major sponsor of the 108-year-old tournament, eclipsing the tenure of previous major sponsor Ford.

The sponsorship is financed by Kia’s head office in South Korea, and regarded as a global marketing tool.

Neither Kia nor Australian Open organiser Tennis Australia divulge the cost of the sponsorship, but media speculation suggest it could be up to $10 million a year over five years.

The biggest sports sponsorship in Australia is thought to be Toyota’s Australian Football League deal, which AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou last year said was “likely to be the largest sponsorship for any sport" in Australia.

 center imageLeft: Kia Australia president and CEO Charlie Kim and Tennis Australia's Steve Wood.

While the AFL sponsorship – especially the annual AFL Grand Final – has a wide reach in Australia over a longer period, the Australian Open has greater international recognition.

The renewal of Kia’s contract with Tennis Australia was announced in Melbourne this week ahead of the annual event at Melbourne Park.

Kia Motors executive vice-president and chief operating officer Thomas Oh said the dynamism and passion seen on the tennis courts in the Melbourne tournament was “the perfect embodiment of what the Kia brand stands for”.

“It is our hope that Kia’s involvement over the years has played a significant role in the tournament’s tremendous growth and we are confident that our renewal will continue to help realise the full potential of this wonderful event,” he said.

Most of the Kia vehicles lent to Tennis Australia for the event are used to shuttle players and officials between their hotels to Melbourne Park.

The cars mostly comprise Carnivals, Optimas and Sorentos, with a sprinkling of Rondos and a Cerato.

Kia’s other major international sponsorships include FIFA – the world soccer governing body and its World Cup in Brazil – and the UEFA European Football Championship.

In Australia, Kia is the major sponsor of Essendon Bombers in the Australian Football League.

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