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Sponsorship winners at the AO

by Paula Beadle, SMA Founder & CEO

I recently had the privilege of taking a behind-the-scenes tour of the 2024 Australian Open, guided by the insightful Jordan Iannuzzi. As we strolled through the various sponsor integrations and exciting opportunities, one thing became abundantly clear – at the core of the AO’s success is its exceptional team.

From leadership support to meticulous planning, flawless execution, and a commitment to cultivating relationships, the AO team demonstrated a genuine passion for their work. Corporate partners aren’t just sponsors; they are an integral part of the AO culture, receiving support throughout the entire organization. The attention given to developing and maintaining sponsor relationships is immense, and it undoubtedly contributes to the AO’s remarkable 100% sponsor retention this year, including partners that caught my attention like Kia, Polo, Tanqueray, Infosys, and Marriott Bonvoy.

Infosys, a partner since 2018, caught my attention immediately upon entering the venue. Their contribution of data, insights, and digital experiences for players and fans is a prime example of a true partnership in action.

Next door to the Infosys data center. One of the new standout sponsor opportunities caught my eye – the Court Side Bar. It’s an up-close hospitality experience for fans to enjoy the action. This immersive space allows fans to grab a beverage, order food, and watch the match right from the bar.

Behind the scenes, the corporate hospitality “pop-ups” were nothing short of extraordinary. As a fan of Marriott (also the host of the 24 SMA Summit), and a guest at the Marriott in Melbourne, Marriott Bonvoy grabbed my attention. While checking-in, I made sure to express my gratitude for their sponsorship of the AO. These are small gestures of appreciation that resonate with employees and make them proud of their company’s involvement.

The Grand Slam Oval is the ultimate destination for music, fun, and cocktails. The integration of multiple beverage partners created a unique event within an event, each with its grand entrance area, its not your typical beer garden event experience.

The Polo store, featuring branded and traditional merchandise, offered a distinctive shopping experience. Notably, the apparel partner’s sales locations were strategically placed, underscoring the organization’s commitment to prioritizing sponsors.

Further evidence of the leadership commitment to the sponsors was demonstrated when Australia President and Chair, Jayne Hrdlicka, took the world stage for the championship trophy presentation to Aryna Sabalena, Hrdlicka graciously expressed her heartfelt gratitude to the sponsors.

In essence, my journey through the AO revealed more than just a tennis tournament; it showcased the power of collaboration, thoughtful sponsor integration, and the undeniable impact of a dedicated team. The Australian Open isn’t just an event; it’s a testament to the success that comes when sponsors are considered true partners in the journey.