Is tennis failing to cash in on the ins and outs of advertising?

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YOU might not have noticed, but our observant LAWRENCE MONEY points out some very serious revenue-raising opportunities that have been overlooked during the Australian Open:

IT WAS IN an early round of the CPA-Australia Australian Open, telecast “live and free” by Seven – and it was just after Marta Kostyuk slammed a winning forehand past the Jacob’s Creek ad in the third set, sending the AO’s official Wilson ball bouncing off the Rolex time clock – that I first began to ponder the many advertising opportunities that were yet to be mined in tennis.

Sure, there were the quadruple KIA symbols at each end of the court, and an ANZ banner next to the Emirates sign on the backhand side, but – during the change of Wilson balls (brought to you by Plush) – I puzzled over the lack of sponsorship elsewhere.

Sure, a disputed line call was subjected to a “Rolex review” and a negative decision was a “Rolex out”. Sure, a comparison of one player against an opponent (as with Rafael Nadal and Damir Dzumhur in a later match) was dubbed an “Industry Superfund Compare the Pair”, contrasting ages and titles won. But surely the ages could have been sponsored by some life-assurance or pension fund.

“Out!” Brought to you by Rolex.

Yes, opponent Elina Svitolina was able to brandish the Nike tick on her eye-shade and shirt but what an opportunity lost when Kostyuk served a couple of consecutive Wilsons into the net during the third set. Come on guys. How about: “Double fault brought to you by the Hungry Jack’s Double Cheese Whopper”? Or the Two Dollar Shop? And, while the net itself is already endorsed by KIA, surely there’s an opening for Netbank or Netflix to sponsor service lets.

Sorry, what’s the name of that wine again?

What about Nadal, wheezing as usual like a punctured balloon after every shot and constantly pulling his undies out of his bum crack? There has to be an advertising opp in that famous fidget. Where are you, Polo Ralph Lauren and co? “Bum crack adjustments brought to you by Bond boxers?”

Where’s the enterprising sponsor who will endorse the umpire, sitting high on the adjudicating chair? It’s a pivotal position with high recognition factor, just the sort of ingredients that should appeal to an advertiser. “Wouldn’t have made that wrong call if he’d gone to Specsavers.”

Where’s an advertiser who can fill in those 15-second gaps between the “Bunnings courtside commentator” Roger Rasheed and the “Blackmores replay” of previous-set highlights?

Player comparison, sponsored by your superannuation friends.

It has been a sad waste of revenue-raising resources over this Aussie Open. Honestly, as a defeated Kostyuk headed off after her game, parading her Yonex bag before the “live and free” Seven cameras, walking all the way from the Mastercard and Bupa ads to the Blackmores pharmaceuticals exit, you could not help but ask why tennis authorities don’t make better use of advertising opportunities during major tennis tournaments. It all seems very short-sighted.

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Author: Lawrence Money

Lawrence Money has twice been named Victoria’s best newspaper columnist by the Melbourne Press Club. He wrote columns for 37 years on the Melbourne Herald, Sunday Age and daily Age — and in Royalauto and Your Sport magazines — before retiring in 2016 after a 50-year career in journalism.
He still treads the speaking circuit, does radio gigs, tweets on @lozzacash and chases a long-gone 13 golf handicap. He clings to the eternal hope that the Melbourne Demons will once again win a flag.

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