Liverpool tennis tournament sees sponsors exposed to more than a million people

Anders Borg, whose company Northern Vision staged the Liverpool Hope International at Liverpool Cricket Club, said almost 2,000 corporate guests attended the event. Tony McDonough reports.
Corporate sponsors of the Liverpool Hope International Tennis Tournament in June saw their brands exposed to more than 1m people, the organiser claims.

Anders Borg, whose company Northern Vision staged the 16-year-old tournament at Liverpool Cricket Club, also said almost 2,000 corporate guests attended the event.

This, he said, makes it one of the largest annual corporate gatherings in the city.

Mini tennis

The tournament itself took place June 15 to 18 but Northern Vision worked to promote it across Merseyside in the four weeks prior to the main event.

This included four weeks of mini tennis at three Liverpool city centre locations – Liverpool One, Mann Island and Exchange Flags – as well as in Southport.

“More than 10,000 people enjoyed our free tennis lessons during that period,” Anders told YBNews.

“The estimated footfall in Liverpool One alone during the four weeks was 750,000 so our conservative estimate was that our sponsors were exposed to more than 1m people.”

Main winners

That exposure included prominent advertising boards around the court itself during the tournament which saw Belgian Steve Darcis win the men’s tournament with Slovakian Polona Hercog triumphing in the women’s tournament.

The legends tournament included Southport-born Barry Cowan who once took one of the sport’s all-time greats, Peter Sampras, to five sets at Wimbledon. Other players included Robert Kendrick from the US and Argentinian Guillermo Canas.

Kids Day

As well as the main sponsor, Liverpool Hope University, other presenting sponsors included leading Liverpool law firm, MSB Solicitors, Merseyrail, Aer Lingus and taxi giant Uber.

MSB made a significant contribution to one of the most important days of the tournament – Kids Days – held on June 14 this year – which also saw an appearance by Judy Murray, mother of Wimbledon champion Andy Murray.

Anders added: “We invited 750 kids from schools form around the Liverpool city region to Liverpool Cricket Club to be introduced to not only tennis but seven other sports.

“All the kids also gathered on the centre court during the days to watch the main tournament’s qualifying finals.”

To help make Kids Day happen, MSB donated 150 tennis rackets. The firm’s managing partner, Paul Bibby, said: “Sport and exercise has a demonstrable impact on the way we function both physically and cognitively and it is something we actively encourage at MSB.”

Lucrative coverage

Anders estimates that wider media coverage was worth in the region of £750,000 to the sponsors with the highlight being BBC Breakfast’s live broadcast from the Aigburth venue.

Hailing the success of the tournament, he said: “The corporate guests enjoy ample networking and promotional opportunities in addition to enjoy great hospitality.

“We are the only event in the world where our main sponsors are sitting on the court just a few yards away from the players.

“The event is also about engaging with the local community and trying to get more kids, and the general public, to pick up tennis and ensure they enjoy the incredible advantages through health and wellbeing it brings.

“There is a lot of talk about encouraging people in Liverpool to take up sport and become more active.

“I feel the International is great contributor to these initiatives.”

As Wimbledon looms we look back on Liverpool International 2017

THE period when everybody in Britain becomes a tennis fan for a fortnight is upon us.

Wimbledon opens its gates on Monday, with Andy Murray starting his defence of his men’s singles title against a qualifier or a lucky loser the same day.

Mersey interest is provided by the Skupski brothers Ken and Neal, who takes part in the Men’s Doubles with an all British first round clash against Joe Salisbury and Brydan Klein.

But Liverpool International star Marcus Willis saw his dreams of a Wimbledon return dashed.

The Reds fan crashed out in the final qualifying round to Ukraine’s Illya Marchenko, missing out on a second consecutive appearance at Wimbledon.

Willis helped light up the 16th staging of Liverpool’s exhibition event, blessed this year by glorious weather.

Organisers Northern Vision started their promotional period in May with tennis in Liverpool One shopping centre, followed by promotional events in Hooton, Exchange Flags,

Paradise Street, Williamson Square and St Georges Park in Southport.

During the promotional tour organisers reached out to thousands of people, encouraging them to try out free tennis lessons and telling them about the event,

On Kids Day, which traditionally launches the event proper, more than 750 schoolchildren were invited to attend and introduced to the game, in addition to getting the opportunity to watch the qualifying finals, won by Adam Jones of the Wirral.

During the International nearly 2,000 corporate guests were catered for and entertained from all over the North West – making the International one of the largest outdoor corporate events in the region.

This year the event attracted coverage from BBC Breakfast TV, four slots providing positive publicity for Liverpool and title sponsor Liverpool Hope University.

The programme was angled on the health benefits conducted by the University in which tennis is proved to be an optimum sport for body and mind.

This same study has been quoted worldwide.

While the nation indulges its fortnightly obsession with tennis, Liverpool has already promoted the sport superbly.