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New Balance expands tennis footprint with Australian Open, United Cup partnership
The Boston-based sportswear giant has gone from announcing Milos Raonic as its first tennis ambassador in 2013 to outfitting a Grand Slam tournament within a decade.
Published Dec 05, 2023
Australia may not be known as the most stylish stop on a tennis calendar dotted with fashion capitals—but that could soon change, after New Balance was revealed as the new Official Performance Apparel and Footwear provider of the Australian Open and United Cup.
The three-year sponsorship agreement, which was announced last week, marks a "first-of-its-kind deal for New Balance in partnering with a Grand Slam" according to Evan Zeded, the global director of sports marketing for New Balance Tennis and Baseball.
“We are proud to work with Tennis Australia and their innovative team on one of the most exciting new events in the global tennis calendar in the United Cup, and of course the iconic Australian Open,” Zeded said in a statement.
“This is more than a sponsorship, it is a celebration of two brands dedicated to growing the game and inspiring the next generation of tennis players and fans. Together, we are committed to making a lasting impact on the world of tennis and leaving a lasting impression on the hearts of future athletes.”
As part of the new collaboration, New Balance will release an AO co-branded line of performance apparel and footwear, which will be available for purchase online and during the tournament via New Balance’s on-site retail store. The brand will also outfit ballkids at the upcoming United Cup in Perth and Sydney.
The partnership slots in alongside the AO’s existing relationship with Ralph Lauren, the tournament’s official apparel outfitter since 2020. Ralph Lauren outfits on-court officials, including ball kids, linespeople and chair umpires at the year’s first Grand Slam, as well as at Wimbledon and the US Open.
“We are thrilled to join with New Balance. We share a common goal of growing tennis through innovation while honoring the sport’s rich heritage, making New Balance an obvious partner for two of the sport’s biggest events—the Australian Open and the United Cup,” said Cedric Cornelis, Tennis Australia’s Chief Commercial Officer.
“New Balance has a long history of investing in tennis, with some of the game’s biggest names as proud ambassadors of the brand. We are excited to work with New Balance as it expands its presence in the sport even further.”
The deal also marks New Balance’s most visible push into the tennis market, with the Boston-based sportswear giant growing its sponsorship in the sport exponentially within the last decade. In 2013, the brand announced Milos Raonic as its first tennis ambassador and later added Heather Watson into the fold. In the decade that followed, New Balance has maintained a small—but very impactful—stable of ambassadors in tennis, including Coco Gauff and Tommy Paul.
After famously signing Gauff at the age of 14, New Balance took center stage at the US Open thanks in part to the American teen’s exploits: In 2019, they introduced the debutante with a campaign titled “Call Me Coco” back when folks were still calling her “Cori”. After her maiden Grand Slam victory in 2023, during which Gauff sported her signature New Balance Coco CG1 shoes, that slogan was updated to “Call Me Champion”—a move that will probably go down among the best marketing plays in tennis.
Last month, Tennis Channel invited viewers to ponder who is “the best brand in tennis”. While that title might be up for debate, New Balance keeps proving they are, at least, one of the savviest in the game.