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Tennis Australia today announced it has secured the support of Australian Open major sponsor Kia Motors for an additional five years in a multi-million dollar deal that will extend the partnership through until 2018.<br /> <br /> The new deal cements Kia as the longest running major sponsor in the tournament&rsquo;s history, with 17 continuous years of commitment to the first Grand Slam of the year.<br /> <br /> Tennis Australia Chief Executive Officer Steve Wood said the deal was a major boost to the event.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Tennis Australia is thrilled to have Kia signed on as major sponsor of the Australian Open for a further five years. Kia is a tremendous and long-standing supporter of the event, and we look forward to continuing this successful partnership through until 2018,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> The sponsorship rights of the renewed agreement will remain largely the same, with a host of new marketing programs to be introduced by Kia at the Australian Open over the next five years.<br /> <br /> Kia will continue to supply more than 100 official tournament vehicles each year for the safe transportation of players, officials and visitors.<br /> <br /> In addition, branded and integrated on- and offline experiences, such as the interactive Grand Slam&trade; Oval fan area at Melbourne Park, &lsquo;Kia Fan of the Day&rsquo; and &lsquo;Kia Fan of the Tournament&rsquo; competitions, will continue to leverage fan engagement and excitement.<br /> <br /> Thomas Oh, Executive Vice President and COO of Kia Motors Corporation, said: &ldquo;We believe the dynamism and passion seen on the courts here in Melbourne are the perfect embodiment of what the Kia brand stands for and this has driven us to deepen our commitment to the Australian Open and the game of tennis.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It is our hope that Kia&rsquo;s involvement over the years has played a significant role in the tournament&rsquo;s tremendous growth and we are confident that our renewal will continue to help realise the full potential of this wonderful event.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> The five-year extension was announced in Melbourne by executive management of both Tennis Australia and Kia Motors Australia at today&rsquo;s official vehicle handover ceremony for Australian Open 2013. An official signing ceremony will follow on 25 January.<br /> <br /> Grand Slam&trade; Oval at Australian Open 2013 will host Kia marquee and promotional events to expand the Kia brand experience for all patrons. Throughout the tournament, Kia vehicles will be displayed around Melbourne Park and Kia experience kiosks will host a range of activities for fans.