Rakuten has signed a multi-year partnership with the International Tennis Federation (ITF) to become the global innovation and entertainment partner and global presenting partner for the Davis Cup.
The deal covers the 2019 and 2020 editions of the men’s national team tournament, which will officially become the Davis Cup by Rakuten. The agreement includes the option of a further two-year extension.
Rakuten will benefit from high visibility in the finals and qualifiers stage of the Davis Cup as part of the agreement.
Rakuten will introduce digital and offline activations for the Davis Cup that will seek to enhance the fan experience. The company plans on using online communications and content-sharing for supporters, including the use of its Rakuten Viber global messaging platform, and new reward-based programmes for fans both in-venue and globally.
ITF President David Haggerty said: “The Davis Cup has always been about maintaining tradition while embracing innovation. Adopting new technologies for the Davis Cup is allowing us to enter exciting new partnerships, and we look forward to working with Rakuten to reach a global audience in new and diverse ways.”
The company agreed the deal with ITF and investment group Kosmos, which last year invested heavily in the transformation of the Davis Cup through a 25-year, $3bn partnership with the ITF.
The investment will include significant increases in prize money for players and ITF member nations, and the funding of grassroots projects and other tennis development programmes.
The deal strengthens Rakuten’s position within the global sports sector, with the company also holding partnerships with FC Barcelona, the Golden State Warriors and the NBA.
The 2019 Davis Cup Finals will take place from 18th-24th November at Caja Mágica in Madrid.