Old sport, New Balance approach. New Balance recently signed a three-year deal as the official performance apparel and footwear provider of the Australian Open and United Cup. This means the brand will have a retail presence at the Grand Slam Oval and a custom AO co-branded line of apparel. This partnership will also have the brand kitting out the ball kids at the United Cup played in Sydney and Perth between December 2023 and January 2024. Australia’s own Jordan Thompson, America’s Coco Gau
Coco Gauff and fashionable former world number five Eugenie Bouchard not only have endorsements with New Balance, but they have also become tastemakers, which has increased the brand’s visibility and popularity. New Balance is a privately owned, Boston-based sports footwear and apparel brand, founded in 1906 by William Riley. The business originally sold flexible arch inserts inspired by the three claws of a chicken foot that provided the perfect balance. In 2022 the privately owned company reported revenue of US$5.3 billion, a 21 per cent increase on the year prior. Globally, it has over 500 retail stores and in excess of 3000 retail partners. New Balance is the first performance apparel and footwear provider for a number of years now, and with its entrenched sporting history, it was the right time to re-engage with tennis in Australia given the number of tennis talent the brand currently endorses, including Coco Gauff and Tommy Paul. The details of the range are yet to be released and have been teased for early January 2024. Tennis Australia’s chief commercial officer Cedric Cornelis told Inside Retail, “We share a common goal of growing tennis through innovation while honouring 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.” Evan Zeder, New Balance’s global director of sports marketing for tennis and baseball, told Inside Retail,“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. 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,” he said. Polo officially outfitting the tennis Ralph Lauren announced in October 2023 that it would return for the fourth consecutive year to be the official outfitter for the Australian Open and debuted the official AO 2024 capsule collection online and in Ralph Lauren and Polo Ralph Lauren boutiques nationwide. The partnership will see the brand outfit all on-court officials and ball-persons and official on-site staff totalling almost 4000 individuals. The collection features a wide range for fashion and tennis fans alike, with iconic pieces such as the player towels and a new iteration of the iconic ‘Polo Bear’ wearing the 2024 Ball Kid uniform emblazoned across caps, towels, sweatshirts and t-shirts.This partnership allows for the brand to provide pop-up retail experience direct-to-consumers at Rod Laver Arena and the AO sites, alongside a series of national pop-up retail activations at existing stores and retail partners including Myer and David Jones.Ralph Lauren’s iconic create-your-own (CYO) customisation program will be available at the 2024 Australian Open, in Melbourne where customers will be able to purchase and personalise pieces by embroidering or painting their name or initials. Sydney Airport will host a pop-up from January 15 at the Qantas Domestic Terminal, and on the other side of the gates, an activation from January 20-23 at The Rocks will co-inside with an AO broadcast outside the Polo Ralph Lauren store. Before the trophy cabinet Known for its luggage, Louis Vuitton is the official trophy trunk partner that will house the women’s Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup and the men’s Norman Brookes Challenge Cup. Hand-crafted in Paris, the specially designed trunks consist of a wooden frame, covered in the iconic Louis Vuitton Monogram canvas, finished with a classic lozine leather trim and the same brass corner protectors, lock and clasps that have been used by the brand since the 1860s. A striking hand-painted white V – for “Victory“ and “Vuitton“ on the front panels, fold to reveal the trophies inside and are lined with blue microfibre to match the iconic blue courts and a white AO, on the underside of the lid. As the official trophy trunk partner to the AO, Louis Vuitton worked with Tennis Australia to create two brand-new, bespoke cases that reaffirm its long-standing commitment to tennis, which began with trophy trunks crafted for Roland Garros and the Davis Cup. Craig Tiley, Tennis Australia CEO, told Inside Retail, “Louis Vuitton is renowned for creating iconic trunks and we are delighted with the stunning hand-crafted custom trunks created for our historic Australian Open trophies.” “The Australian Open and Louis Vuitton both share a commitment to unparalleled excellence and innovation, while retaining great respect for history, tradition and the celebration of legendary achievement and skill,” Tiley said. Pietro Beccari, LV Chairman and CEO, said the luxury brand was “proud to announce this new partnership with the first Grand Slam tournament of 2024, which once again shows that Victory travels in Louis Vuitton.” “For more than 170 years, the Maison has been creating trunks that embody excellence, creativity and audacity, all values we share with the world’s greatest sporting events,” Beccari said. Champagne celebrations For the sixth consecutive year, the revered champagne house Piper-Heidsieck returns as the official champagne of AO in 2024 and aims to unite and deliver memorable experiences for attendees. With a series of activations and toast-worthy events, the brand will create a champagne bar that will champion local Australian produce with a quintessential French flair and menu of toasties from Melbourne providore, Meatsmith, including a vegan option. The brand has curated an immersive experience for the senses with roving performers to entertain the crowds and Melbourne-based marching band Horns of Leroywill roam as the ‘Piper-Heidsieck Marching Band’, with can-can dancers, three-piece Melbourne band Oui Papa and drag queen Aubrey Haive. Le Kiosque by Piper-Heidsieck is a new activation that will serve those wanting a glass of champagne on the go as a relaxing environment near the eastern courts.