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By Adrianna Outlaw

(August 16, 2010) The US Open starts in two weeks, but the USTA is already a big winner before a single shot has been struck at the season's final Grand Slam tournament. Long-time sponsors Citizen Watch and Polo Ralph Lauren are renewing US Open sponsorships in five-year pacts that are worth a total of "up to $28 million" according to a published report in SportsBusiness Journal written by Daniel Kaplan.

The US Open begins on August 30th. Both Citizen and Polo Ralph Lauren sponsorships were expiring at the conclusion of this year's tournament.

The Polo pact represents about $8 million in value during the next five years, according to the SBJ report. Polo, a US Open sponsor since 2005, provides apparel for linespeople and ball kids at the Open.

Polo is also partnering with Venus Williams in a deal that could lead to an expanded relationship. The two-time US Open champion will conduct a webcast tennis clinic for Polo next week, which will be streamed on the Polo Ralph Lauren web site. Williams, who wears her own EleVen label on court, is also working with Polo on a co-branded dress she will wear during the clinic. Though she will not wear the dress during the US Open, it will be sold on the grounds of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, according to SBJ.

"It’s kind of a get-to-know-you process, and hopefully the clinic will be high-profile enough to bring some attention for our relationship and how we do," David Lauren, Polo’s senior vice president of advertising, marketing and corporate communications, told SportsBusiness Journal. "This is a way to test the relationship and see how we can work together."

The webcast will be sponsored by Open sponsor Mercedes-Benz, which is "paying $250,000 for the affiliation" according to SportsBusiness Journal.

In addition to extending its US Open sponsorship, Citizen is also renewing its sponsorship of the Pilot Pen in New Haven and will become official timekeeper of the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters and Women's Open. Both New Haven and Cincinnati events are owned by the USTA.

A US Open sponsor since 1993, Citizen's new five-year pact is worth between $15 and $20 million, according to SBJ.


 

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