Aug 21, 2011 at 01:59 PM
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First Time Sponsors Toast US Open Tennis

Update: Aetna has announced a three-year sponsorship with the USTA that will include many activation elements at the U.S. Open.

As the U.S. Open gets ready to kick-off, fans will have an official champagne to toast several new sponsors. Moet & Chandon will join Davis Cup sponsor, Adecco, and notable newcomer, Xerox, as new additions to the U.S. Open's official sponsor line-up this year. The tournament will have a new exclusive office equipment and document technology and services provider for the first time in 34 years, as Xerox takes over from competitor, Canon, whose deal came to an end in 2010.

Look for several returning sponsors to get a new look as well, thanks to recent M&A activity. Kraft Foods, which earlier in the month announced a plan to split its grocery and snack business, will focus activation on snack brand, Nabisco, this year, while Continental Airlines which was a sponsor for the seventh year in a row in 2010 will now be rebranded as United, in accordance with its post-merger branding strategy. TicketsNow's secondary ticket platform will be rebranded at this year's open to the 'U.S. Open TicketExchange by TicketsNow.'

After a contentious off-season, Olympus will be one of twenty returning sponsors back at this year's Open. You'll recall that The USTA had sued Olympus for breach of contract seeking the remaining $11.7M left in sponsorship fees on its deal. After Olympus counter-sued, the two parties settled the disagreement in February.

Hopefully both parties can toast to the settlement as new partner, Moet & Chandon, kicks off the tournament with Queens icon -Tony Bennett - celebrating his 85th birthday prior to the tennis tournament's opening ceremonies on Aug. 29th.

"Moet & Chandon's debut partnership with the US Open is truly the perfect match, as both brands share a passion for success and celebration," commented Daniel Lalonde, President and CEO of Moet & Chandon. "Through the magic of champagne, we look forward to creating unique and unforgettable experiences together with the USTA by toasting all the players and fans throughout the exciting competition."

To celebrate its inaugural partnership with the US Open, Moet & Chandon, has arranged for 10 of New York City's upscale restaurants to screen the US Open, have the opportunity to enjoy Moet by the glass and then enter, via iPhone, a contest to win two tickets to the US Open to watch it live. And for those entertaining at home, fans can log onto to order a limited edition crystallized US Open themed magnum.

"Showcasing success is one of Moet & Chandon's original values, and one which clearly resonates in the sport of tennis. In addition to brilliant matches and wins on court, tennis offers red carpet moments that are new occasions to share the magic of champagne with the world," Lalonde said. "Tennis will give us additional opportunities to share our passion for celebrations with the most prestigious events and greatest players in the spirit of success, glamour, grandeur and generosity."

As a new U.S. Open partner, Xerox' products will be used across tournament operations, business operations and the Media Center.

“The USTA does a masterful job of creating on-court excitement for tennis fans around the world,” Christa Carone, CMO for Xerox, said when the deal was signed. “Off the courts is a hub of activity to serve up fast and accurate communication with officials, administrators, press, players and guests. That’s where Xerox comes in. Through our document technology and services, we’ll give the USTA more freedom to focus on their real business — on the court and off.”

Finally, as expected, Panasonic will be back in its second year as the official 3D electronics sponsor and the official television of the U.S. Open Championships. Panasonic, which Olympus earlier this year said had infringed on its category rights, will promote its Viera flat panel HDTV's at this year's Open. #newstag