Vodafone signs a five-year deal as sponsor of the Wimbledon tournament | Vodafone

Vodafone has signed a five-year deal to sponsor Wimbledon and has signed Tim Henman and Laura Robson as brand ambassadors, while the mobile company is also in talks about a deal with teenage tennis star Emma Radacanu.

Vodafone has signed a multimillion-pound deal to become the official connectivity partner of the grass-field grand slam event, as well as a wide-ranging partnership with the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club and the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) to the number of people playing the game at all levels.

“There is a huge buzz around British tennis and Wimbledon will once again be a highlight of the summer,” said Max Taylor, Consumer Director at Vodafone. “We want to build on this momentum in the long term by supporting the grassroots to engage players of all ages, abilities and backgrounds in sport.”

The mobile phone company, which successfully bet on sponsoring the British & Irish Lions tour of South Africa despite the threat of the pandemic last year, has also publicly confirmed for the first time that it is in a deal with Radacanu.

The 19-year-old announced herself on the world stage at Wimbledon last year, won the US Open in September and became the first British female player to win a grand slam in 44 years.

Radacanu is currently one of the hottest marketing offices in global sport with a range of deals from Nike and Dior to Tiffany and Wilson, and announced new partnerships with Evian and British Airways in December.

“I can confirm that we are in talks with Emma Radacanu,” Taylor said. “We think she would be a fantastic ambassador and great for our partnership and ambitions around grassroots tennis. There is nothing formal to announce, but we are in talks.”

Reports have suggested a deal with Raducanu, who won BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 2021, could be worth £3million, but it’s clear that figure is well above that.

Vodafone will use its first foray into tennis sponsorship to promote the benefits of next-generation 5G technology, showcasing augmented and virtual reality and ‘internet of things’ technology throughout the tournament.

“I will say the 5G connectivity at Wimbledon will be fantastic this year,” said Taylor, adding that the sponsorship would be supported by a major advertising campaign this summer.

Taylor said a key element of the partnership was to support the LTA’s ambition to have 10% more children play tennis and 1 million adults play regularly by 2025.

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The Wimbledon deal marks the latest expansion of Vodafone’s sponsorship strategy, which includes deals with Wasps rugby club and Formula E, with a number of new sports and entertainment deals likely to be in place this year.

Sponsorship was once an important part of Vodafone’s marketing strategy, with deals for Formula 1, the England cricket team and Manchester United.

“It’s really about timing,” Taylor said. “Years ago we had challenges with network and customer service, and some of the focus on sponsorship and partnerships fell away. This is a resurgent Vodafone in the UK. With the momentum we’ve gained in the business, sponsorship is: [once again] an important part of our marketing mix.”

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