Kia Motors Corp. (000270) extended its sponsorship of the Australian Open through 2018, lifting the South Korean automaker’s backing of the tennis Grand Slam tournament to an unprecedented 17 straight years.
Kia, which replaced Ford Motor Co. (F) as the main sponsor of the season-opening major in Melbourne in 2002, committed to a “multi-million dollar” extension and the sponsorship rights of the renewed agreement will remain largely the same, Tennis Australia said today in a statement.
“To our knowledge, Kia will now be the longest and biggest Asian-based sponsor of sport in Australian history,” Steve Wood, the governing body’s chief executive officer, told reporters at Melbourne Park.
As part of its sponsorship, Kia supplies the two-week tournament with a fleet of more than 100 vehicles that transport tennis players, officials and VIPs around Melbourne.
The latest agreement is said to be worth about A$50 million ($52.7 million), the Australian Financial Review reported.
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