As the major sponsor of the Australian Open 2011, Kia Motors handed over a fleet of 101 specially-equipped official tournament vehicles to Tennis Australia during a ceremony in Melbourne on Friday attended by executives from Kia Motors Australia and Tennis Australia, as well as Kia's global brand ambassador, Rafael Nadal. This year celebrates Kia's 10th consecutive sponsorship of the Australian Open and the ceremony brought the tally of Kia vehicles provided to the tournament over the last decade to 909.
Accepting the Kia Courtesy Fleet on behalf of Tennis Australia, Tennis Australia CEO Steve Wood acknowledged the importance of the Kia cars to the logistic success of the Australian Open. "Kia Motors makes a huge contribution to the running of the Australian Open and I am once again very pleased to accept this courtesy fleet."
The fleet of vehicles on location this year, the Kia Sedona (Carnival) people mover, all-new Sportage and Sorento CUVs, all-new Optima sedan and Cerato (Forte) 5-door hatchback models, will transport players, officials and VIPs to matches and other activities throughout the grand slam tournament. "The sight of the Kia fleet ferrying players, media and officials around Melbourne is synonymous with the Australian Open and contributes to the tangible excitement and buzz that the event brings to the city of Melbourne," Mr. Wood concluded.
"As a proud sponsor of the Open, we are providing an opportunity for athletes, volunteers and guests to experience the excitement of the tournament with relative ease, while providing them with the opportunity to experience the excitement with Kia vehicles," said Kia Motors Australia President and CEO M.K. Kim.
The Kia courtesy fleet will be driven by approximately 20 specially trained volunteer drivers who expect to clock more than 300,000 kilometres over thousands of journeys during the Australian Open 2011.
In addition to supplying vehicles, the Kia Fan of the Day and Fan of the Tournament events are in their fifth year. Every day, a Kia Fan of the Day will be chosen as the most creatively dressed or painted fan and be projected on giant screens in Rod Laver Arena then put to online votes on the Australian Open website (www.australianopen.com). Each winner of the Fan of the Day will be awarded a digital camera and entered into the Kia Fan of the Australian Open 2011 to compete for the grand prize of an LCD television.
"Kia Motors' long-term partnership will, no doubt, continue to delight and excite Australian Open fans. Kia's commitment to quality and fun is demonstrated clearly through its sponsorship, and we are thrilled that Kia Motors will invigorate this year's tournament with new and exciting competitions for fans, a critical element of the tournament," said Mr. Wood of Kia's partnership with Tennis Australia.
Another online contest prior to the tournament was held through Kia's official Facebook fan page (www.Facebook.com/KiaMotorsWorldwide), whereby two winners were granted an all-expenses paid trip for two to the Australian Open. Winners submitted stories which were selected by Kia personnel to be put to an online vote through Facebook. Winners will join in the Kia Lucky Drive to Australia tour in late January. Kia distributors in 23 countries selected lucky customers for the Kia Lucky Drive to Australia tour. Customers will have access to one men's and one women's semifinal match, a behind-the-scenes tour of Melbourne Park and a Melbourne city tour.
Kia also continues to support grassroots tennis through the Kia Amateur Australian Open. "Through Tennis Australia, Kia supports the junior coaching program to help identify and develop the next generation of Australian Open stars," said Mr. Kim. "The Kia Amateur Australian Open is an annual opportunity for a young player to share in the excitement of the main event playing against qualifiers from 15 other countries in the second week of the Australian Open."
Kia live sites will continue to give fans in Sydney and Melbourne the opportunity to view the tournament. In addition, Kia will host marquee activities at the Grand Slam Oval equipped with a Kia car display and other promotional activities to expand the Kia brand experience for tournament attendees. Throughout the tournament, Kia vehicles will be displayed around Melbourne Park, alongside the Grand Slam Oval, Kia experience kiosks and Kia face painting stalls.
Source: Kia Motors Corporation.