Chinese sports company Peak (official name Peak Sport Products Co. Ltd.) has signed a five-year sponsorship deal with the WTA Tour.
An Associated Press article characterizes the company as cash rich in China, but virtually unknown outside of the country. The partnership marks an historic milestone in a strategic effort to grow and promote women’s tennis in the Asia-Pacific region.
China’s 1.3 billion potential fans are irresistible to sports leagues and sponsorship deals give them a local partner in the market. The WTA points out there are 130 million Chinese interested in tennis and 10 million recreational players – double the number of those in France, an established market.
Despite the success of Chinese players such as Li Na and Zheng Jie, tennis is still a relatively new sport there. Audiences too are somewhat raw: During the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, local fans breached tennis etiquette by cheering during long rallies and sighing loudly over faults.
Peak’s deal with the WTA Tour is worth seven figures annually and includes cooperation on tennis festivals in China, a player apparel program, and revenue-sharing on a co-branded apparel line.
The company’s 33-year-old