Sri Lanka’s rise through the tennis ranks in the Davis Cup has been given a commercial boost after Coca-Cola agreed to be a sponsor of its team.
The five-man team will wear shirts emblazoned with the drinks manufacturer’s logo for their March tie with New Zealand. The tie, in Colombo, is Sri Lanka’s first in the second tier of the Davis Cup for nine years, following their promotion last year.
“We are obviously delighted that a corporate entity of the stature of Coca Cola has decided to back our Davis Cup team,” said Angelo Patrick, Sri Lanka team manager. The sponsorship market hasn’t been exactly easy picking ground, and tennis itself did little to attract potential sponsors, thanks to a year of unstable administration in 2008-09, a period in which we lost old sponsors and failed to find new ones. Now that we have succeeded in securing big-name like Coca-Cola, I am hopeful that other sponsors will decide to help us.”
The sponsorship deal lifts the pressure on the Sri Lankan Tennis Association, which has been restructured in recent months. However, Patrick added that new sponsors would continue to be sought: “It wasn’t our intention to ask for all-expenses sponsorship from Coke – that would be asking for the moon. When we approached them we had in our pocket a pledge of Rs. 1.5 million from the Sport Ministry as well as the US$20,000 International Tennis Federation grant we are entitled to as a group two competitor. Even with all that in the bag and Coke’s contribution, there would be a shortfall so our search for sponsors isn’t over.” The Coca Cola deal is worth Rs. 750,000 (US$6,560).