The French Tennis Association (FFT) has announced that Wilson Sporting Goods will replace Babolat as the official ball and official string partner for the French Open grand slam.
Starting in 2020, the five-year partnership will see the Chicago-based sports equipment manufacturer deliver new co-branded balls to be used for all matches at Roland-Garros and for various activations in the build-up to the annual canvas tournament. Wilson’s string team will also be on site to provide players with services during the event.
FFT and Wilson also plan to launch a range of co-branded products, including tennis balls, rackets, string, tennis bags and accessories. The items will be sold onsite at Roland-Garros during the French Open and will also be available online starting January next year.
As part of the deal, Wilson will run an experiential retail space in Roland-Garros and provide its equipment to fans for use in the various tennis-themed activities.
In addition to the partnership with Roland-Garros, Wilson also becomes the Official Partner of the FFT and the Official Ball of the French national tennis championships and as such will be actively involved in various programmes, such as “Raquettes FFT,” “Fête du Tennis,” “Tennis à l’école,” Galaxie Tennis, “classement tennis,” and “Tournois Multi-Chances” (TMC).
“We are very proud to welcome Wilson as an Official Partner of Roland-Garros and the French Tennis Federation. This partnership, which is built for the long term, is based on shared values such as performance and innovation. This double signing with Wilson, a world-renowned brand, will increase Roland-Garros international exposure while encouraging French people to take up tennis, especially young people who represent the future of our club” — FFT President Bernard Giudicelli.
Hans-Martin Reh, general manager of Wilson Racquet Sports, added:
“Our passion for and commitment to creating the best clay- court experience for players aligns with the FFT’s mission, and therefore, this is a partnership that is very authentic at its core. And as an innovative, design-led brand who is also continually looking to grow our sport, we are further excited by the FFT’s forward-leaning approach to growing the presence of Roland-Garros around the world.”
The deal ends FFT’s relationship with Babolat, which has been a partner in the governing body since 2011.