What’s in a name? Everyone has a name and it’s key to recognition and publicity, but in the modern sports world corporate sponsorship deals often result in various name changes,  The primary benefactors of such sports events demand the recognition and publicity for their brand, considering the millions of dollars they spend helping to put such events on.  The Miami Masters tennis tournament has experienced this truth for its entire history, and recently changed names once again. But perhaps we are now moving forward in a new age of more discrete corporate sponsorship…

When the tournament began in 1985, it was a famous tea brand that helped put the plans in motion, and thus the Lipton International Players Championships was formed. Attracting top players to a fine event in Miami went quite well, and the event blossomed into a fantastic tournament with big cash prizes for the players.

Sony Ericsson Open - Tennis Tournament

But the world was changing in the new millennium. The growing popularity of cell phones and wireless communication saw the Swedish business of Ericsson gain massive market share and exposure. Looking to expand their realm of popularity, the company became the primary sponsor of the tournament, redubbing it as the Ericsson Open in 2000.

Agassi at Miami Masters

In 1990, aged 19, Agassi became the youngest winner of the prestigious Miami Masters, often referred to as the fifth Grand Slam. (Credit: BBC News UK)

However, Ericsson was one of the businesses most affected by the Dot-Com stock market bubble in 2000. Additionally a fire at one of the production facilities nearly crippled the company in 2001. In desperation, they were acquired by Sony, a Japanese business seeking to bolster its mobile phone department.

The stress eventually led to a new sponsor in 2002, which turned out to be NASDAQ, one of America’s leading stock exchanges. The name of the Miami Open was quickly changed to the NASDAQ-100 Open. While the tournament’s name sounded more like a NASCAR race, the event continued to do well and draw big crowds, showcasing top players from around the world.

Nasdaq 100 Open Tennis in Miami

Nasdaq 100 Open Tennis Tournament 2006 Entry Gate. (Photo by: Richie Reece, Flickr)

In 2007, the joint company Sony Ericsson would return as the major sponsor, thus changing the name to the Sony Ericsson Open. The sponsorship proved fruitful and innovative for the event, and even saw one of the earliest apps created specifically for a tennis tournament in 2011, which was a big hit! This title would last several years until 2012, when Sony completed its total acquisition of Ericsson, fully incorporating it into its own business. This resulted in the 2013 change to simply the Sony Open.

Sony Open Ericsson

Exclusive seating for Championship Tennis Tours at Sony Ericsson Open.

However, as that deal expired in 2014, the Miami Open recently teamed up with a major Brazilian bank, Itaú. Having found success sponsoring the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Itaú has ventured further into sports and will now help run the Miami Open. In a wonderfully impressive and humble move, Itaú decided to simply dub the tournament as the Miami Open, placing a less obtrusive new title on the tennis tournament. And so here we are, 30 years after its creation finally being able to enjoy a tennis event in South Florida without the blatant advertising title from its leading sponsor! Enjoy the 2015 Miami Open, and check here for ticket deals from Championship Tennis Tours!

Juliana Hughes

Juliana Hughes

Social Media Markerter at JH Consulting
Been working with Championship Tennis Tours since 2012. I have a passion for tennis, blogging, social media, email marketing, and overall SEO Internet Marketing strategies. I love tennis!
Juliana Hughes

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