Archive for the ‘sponsorships’ Category

short balls: the geography edition

September 29, 2010

Fall is coming to fruition across the country. Well, that is if you don’t live in the Los Angeles area. Southern Cal was hit with quite the heat wave earlier this week – temperatures topping around 113 degrees around downtown. On this week’s short balls, we’re staying away from the heat and traveling around the country (and world!), region by region, to bring you tiny tidbits in URL-linked style.

The Midwest is losing one of its tennis gems, as the stadium that hosted the (formerly-named) RCA Championships – the Indianapolis ATP stop for 21 years – was put to the wrecking ball this past week. (via jon_wertheim) Remember: Better times in Indianapolis, which lost its tourney to Atlanta this past year.

The Southeast | The WTA celebrated the 40th anniversary of what it describes as a day of “rebellion” and “independence” last Thursday, September 23rd. In 1970, Billie Jean King and “The Original Nine” broke away from the tennis czars to form the WTA with help from a few business-savvy folks (and Virginia Slims cigarettes). The total purse at the 1970 Virginia Slims Invitational in Houston? $7,500. The winner took home $1,600, which is one about one tenth the money first-round losers are awarded at today’s majors.

Meanwhile, in the Southwest, Mirjana Lucic continued her winning ways this past week by capturing the title at the USTA Pro Circuit swing in Albuquerque. Lucic took out three Americans on her way to the championship. This week, she’s in action up north at the $50,000 event in Las Vegas.

Further west of Lucic’s success in Big Sur, California, Bob Bryan announced he was engaged to longtime girlfriend Michelle Alvarez. And west coast companies Diesel (Los Angeles) and Nike (Portland, Ore.) have new ad campaigns out. The Diesel campaign, “Kick Ass” takes a sarcastic approach to their shoes kicking ass (literally) and not being fitted for running. Nike’s “BOOM” campaign features several well shot (and edited) commercials. In all those split-second shots of different sports, your not missing a tennis moment. The sport didn’t make the cut for this promotional track, FYI. More FYI: Nike’s Q1 profits were up 9% overall. Maybe thanks to Rafa? Or the bed bugs? Probably Rafa…

More geographical adventures (including a dive into New York City!) after the cut… (more…)

players manage balancing act while prepping for nyc’s big show

August 27, 2010

Kim Clijsters threw out the first pitch after meeting the Mets team in Queens on Friday in New York. A day earlier, she was the USTA’s guest of honor at the draw ceremony (AP photo via Yahoo! Sports).

RalphLauren.com pulled out all the stops on Thursday afternoon for an event featuring Venus Williams, in which Venus took questions from online submissions from around the world in a live clinic. At the Sportime Randall’s Island tennis center in New York, Venus was on court for the first time in a public setting since her eyebrow-raising loss to Tsvetana Pironkova in the quarterfinals at Wimbledon. But instead of thwacking errors and a look of confusion, Venus was all smiles and tennis knowledge in the clinic, which was hosted by the British TV personality (and former player) Annabel Croft.

Venus, who is the no. 3 seed at the US Open and one of the favorites though she hasn’t been on tour in two months, talked fitness, forehands and gave plenty of tennis tips from her 26 years of experience on the court. The event was hosted by Ralph Lauren and Mercedes Benz, based on RL’s homepage for viewers to log in and watch live while Venus answered questions relayed by Croft. (Watch a full replay of the clinic here or click on the image after the jump.)

“It’s good for me to remember the basics when I’m about to play a big tournament,” Venus said, referring to the Open. Venus partnered with Ralph Lauren in the design of the dress she wore, a white number emblazoned with the logo of Eleven, Venus’s clothing line.

Guests were greeted with sweet mint tea, pistachio ice cream sandwiches and caramelized popcorn on the upper deck at Randall’s Island, which hosts the New York Sportimes during the World Team Tennis seasons. Male models clad in red Ralph Lauren polos dished out the goods as Venus strode through the crowd on her way to hair and make up (this was a live, online clinic, after all).

The clinic was a part of a myriad of events happening in New York this week, which all lead up to the big show at Flushing Meadows starting on Monday.

(more…)

oops! she did it again?

August 25, 2010

Oudin knows the camera (phones) will be turned on her over the next two weeks. “Crazy things happen in NYC.” (TSF photo)

Brand Oudin is making its biggest push in New York this week, one year after Melanie Oudin wowed the New York crowds and captured the nation’s attention with her eye-popping upsets. Oudin is part of campaigns with adidas, American Express and Virgin Mobile in and around NYC to promote the Open (and said products), even though the American teen is a dismal 3-11 on tour since May.

The web was buzzing earlier this week with the announcement that Oudin would wear customized adidas shoes, this year with the word “Courage” emblazoned on them. Last year, her “Believe” shoes were a US Open obsession, spawning what many called “Melanie Mania” and setting Oudin up for commercial success with deals with companies like Virgin Mobile. The Women Who Serve blog said if it were really up to Oudin she might have wanted to chose “Forget” to go on her shoes this year… as in forget last year’s Open.

But if Oudin wants to Oops! Do it again, she’ll have to do all those things: have courage, believe in herself and forget. The New York media will be shameless in the coverage and glamorization of Oudin in her return to New York, even the girl has obviously worked hard in the gym (check the adidas link… those biceps!) but hasn’t seen results on the court. Can’t we all just leave her alone? C Note thinks that’ll help, too.

After the cut: ad shots from Oudin’s adidas customized shoe and the American Express video. (more…)

short balls: california girls (and boys)

July 27, 2010

TSF takes over the West Coast this week as I made the drive from Cottonwood, Idaho, (yeah, it exists) to San Francisco yesterday for a little R&R and a day at the Bank of the West Classic tomorrow in Palo Alto, at Stanford. Meanwhile, Erwin is holding court in LA for the Farmers Classic, making sure that the boys adhere to the warm weather shining on SoCal and going shirtless on the practice courts.

This week’s version of short balls comes on Tuesday, a little earlier than usual. Enjoy!

I’ll make the drive down to Palo Alto tomorrow for a day at the 40th annual Bank of the West Classic, now the longest-running women’s event on tour. Bank of the West has been the title sponsor since 1992 at this event, something that is unheard of in the days of fast-moving money. (Remember the Lipton Championships? Or the Kraft WTA Tour? Seems like centuries ago… ) The Bank of the West has been at Stanford’s Taube Tennis Pavilion since 1997, and just this year announced partnership with Rebounces, a green company that runs a tennis-ball recycling program nationwide. Balls brought in by members of the public (and those used in the tournament) will be collected and recycled by Rebounces, with the help of FedEx to get them shipped and donated to a local youth tennis program. Thumbs up to that!

There’s always plenty of tennis action on the pages of Twitter, and this week a few more tennis names added themselves to the never-ending world of Tweets. Janko Tipsarevic asked his followers to “bare” with his bad English (gladly, Janko, gladly). WTAers Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Alisa Kleybanova have also joined the Twitter ranks. Anastasia is playing in Istanbul this week, whiles Kleybs was already dismissed from Stanford by a studious Ana Ivanovic. Before she was bounced outta the Bay Area, Kleybs sat down with Chris Oddo for an interview featured on On The Baseline.

The USTA announced yesterday that it is partnering with longtime supporter American Express for a program called Fresh Courts. The program will invest money in 17 different tennis courts in three urban centers, including Los Angeles, DC and New York. In NYC, the benefactors will be our friends over at McCarren Park in Brooklyn. The USTA will head up the fixing up of the courts themselves, as it oversees around 700 refurbishing projects each year.

For a little bit of a fashion fix, I’m digging this Lacoste v-neck (and the model!) I ran across yesterday. $40 online. Meanwhile, Serena might be questionable for the US Open itself, but that’s not keeping Nike from prepping itself for her outfit at said tourney. The Control Court dress (seen here via TennisConnected) is $85 and might – just might – be made famous by ReRe if she’s able to show at Flushing Meadows come late August. This is the black version of her Wimbledon get up, which helped her to her 13th slam title.

short(er) balls are happening after the cut. (more…)

davydenko in dunlop: for your eyes only

March 29, 2010

Wanting what we can’t have: That sleek red Dunlop polo worn by Nikolay Davydenko at the 2010 BNP Paribas Open (last week) is purely for show; while there are other Dunlop tennis clothes available for sale in the U.S., the ones on Nikolay are from the European collection.

And speaking of things that are only for our eyes only, it seems that the optical illusion that is the Dunlop/Prince/Davydenko sponsorship triangle isn’t quite over. To recap:

The top Russian’s sponsorship deal with Dunlop was announced just before the start of Indian Wells. Especially in light of being in limbo with Prince, we were happy that Nikolay had monetized his achievements in some form for 2010.

Now you see it…: The deets of the agreement came in a press release via the Dunlop and ATP sites. Along with endorsing racquets, clothing, and accessories, Kolya would also speak up for the company’s junior talent identification program, called D-Squad.

Two days after the Dunlop announcement, Prince countered with their own releases stating that Kolya had signed a deal to be “an exclusive endorsee of Prince tennis racquets and Prince racquet bags” through 2010. This requires him to have a Prince stencil on his Ozone Tour rackets during the four slams. Off the court, there’s also a clause giving Prince the right to use the Davydenko image for advertising.

So both companies are sticking to their guns, but it doesn’t matter since Davydenko pulled out of Indian Wells. He felt pain in his wrist while playing Rotterdam in February (he lost in the semis to Soderling) but it was misdiagnosed. He continued playing through the injury until he got to the desert; after a hard-fought win over Ernests Gulbis in the second round, Kolya discovered a more serious condition — a broken wrist bone — and pulled out.

Now you don’t…: The Dunlop press release, along with the rest of the Dunlop site, is currently down because of a revamp. The Dunlop release is also no longer available via the ATP website. I wonder if this is any indication of which company successfully courted Kolya?

Blank slate: Nikolay has yet to test out any Dunlop racquets (he was using an unstenciled Prince stick during Indian Wells). And since he’s out for a few months — he’ll likely miss all of the clay season — it’ll be a while before he gets matched up with a Dunlop racquet (if at all).

(Davydenko image via Getty Images; Dunlop screengrabs via dunlopsports.com)

ivanovic gets tenure, loses fed cup rubbers

February 8, 2010

I know it’s turning out to be a heavy flow day from adidas, but we have one more bit…

Silver lining: In the wake of her dismal Fed Cup performance against Russia (which saw her lose both singles rubbers and the doubles rubber), Ana Ivanovic can take a breather after an announcement today that she’ll extended her partnership with adidas to last for her whole career — and she’ll even become a brand ambassador once she retires. “I feel thrilled to be a member of the adidas family and I am very much looking forward to working with adidas on many projects in the future,” she shared through a press release.

Here’s hoping Ana will find her game soon. Otherwise, she’ll be a brand ambassador before she knows it!

See-through: We’re all about that ton-sur-ton jacquard white top that she wore for her doubles match (alongside Jelena Jankovic), though we were hoping she’d have picked a different, bolder color for her singles rubbers.

(image via Getty)

a little taste of europe in palm springs

January 15, 2009

bnp-paribas-open09

So long, humpback: We are still mourning the loss of Pacific Life as the title sponsor to the combined event at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in California. Theirs was such a great trophy…

For now we can be distracted by trying to drill the tournament’s new name — the BNP Paribas Open — into our minds and fingers when we blog about it every March. They’re in for the long haul, too: the bank is the event’s sponsor for the next five years.

As expected, there’s a new URL (bnpparibasopen.org) and the old Pacific Life one no longer works (delete it).

fila’s annatomy: the baseline collection

January 15, 2009

anna-chakvetadze-hongkong09e

Fila sent out its official announcement earlier this week about signing Russian Anna Chakvetadze onto its roster. Anna was previously with adidas.

The 21-year-old is having a slow start to her 2009 so far, losing her matches at the JB Group Classic in Hong Kong, and her first round match in Hobart (to Carla Suarez Navarro).

Fila Spring 2009 Baseline Women's Collection

Country club chic: Anna will wear pieces from the company’s Baseline collection (along with Alfa shoes) at next week’s Australian Open, where she is seeded 17th.

The sea-inpsired collection takes colorful prints from the country club to the pro courts. We weren’t quite ready for the return of this ladies-who-lunch aesthetic; I suspect it’ll take some time for our eyes to adjust. (We eventually did it for Steffi Graf, didn’t we?)

Buy: Skirt, $48; Cap Sleeve Top, $45; Jacket, $68, all at fila.com. Dress, cami tank, racerback tank, sleeveless tank, polo, and pants also available. Items will drop later this month.

(images courtesy of Fila)

more on james blake + fila

January 14, 2009

The Fila camp sent out a release this morning with more details about their new partnership with the un-swooshed James Blake.

The yet-to-be-named collection will incorporate the heritage of the Fila brand with a contemporary twist inspired by Blake’s signature style. And to that end they have started the process. “We have not started designing collection,” they told us by email. “[But] we spent hours w/ James to discuss apparel & footwear w/ our design team before he left for Australia.”

The co-branded collection targeting the active male will be the basis for developing a long-term licensing business for Blake. It’ll include apparel (tennis, golf, fitness, and lifestyle), footwear (performance and lifestyle), plus accessories. Fila and James Blake will also explore other product categories as opportunities arise in the market. (headshaving razors, maybe?)

And just like all great fashion milestones, the collection will debut in New York, with a limited release just before the 2009 U.S. Open. The clothes will be available the following spring.

He’s wearing Collezione: James will be wearing the Collezione collection at the season’s first Major. “Ever since Borg graced the courts of Wimbledon in Fila, I have always been attracted to the Italian style, grace and sophistication of the Fila brand.” He’ll look good in it! Pics of the kit will be posted mañana.

Bad break-up? Either that or Blake’s webmaster was too busy picking his nose while photoshopping these pics on James’ official site. You don’t need to be so obvious about deleting Nike from your life! (Make sure to scroll to the bottom.)

sponsorship musical chairs: blake to fila

January 13, 2009

James Blake - Australian Open 2009

TSF saved some champagne from our new year celebration (happy 2009, btw) in anticipation of some news from our folks at Fila. Of course, they did not disappoint:

Tennis Week is reporting that James Blake has finally left Nike, and will join Janko and Dima in the stud farm.

Blake’ll make the clothing and shoe debut at the Australian Open; there’s even word that they’ve produced a line inspired by the American. I wonder what they’re basing it on? One can only hope that the creative minds in Baltimore have decided to put the “J-Block” to rest.

La Monf switches to Prince in 2009

November 4, 2008

Gael Monfils

Breakdancer Gael Monfils might not be making as much noise as compatriot Jo-Wilfried Tsonga these days, but he’s still being pegged as one of the sport’s future stars. Racquetmaker Prince recently signed the Frenchman to play with the company’s new line of racquets, slated for release in spring 2009.

He first picked up the new sticks prior to the ATP event stop in Vienna and has notched two top 15 scalps and a finals appearance since.

Prince has been mum about what’s behind this new technology, only saying that it “breaks the laws of physics.” Even Monfils didn’t give us much to work with. “I knew as soon as I hit the first ball with it, there was something different, something better,” he said via a press release. “It is hard to explain, but the holes and the technology made a difference. It just felt right.”

We’ll let you know as soon as we hear more about the new racquets.

(photo courtesy of Prince)


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