It’s arguably the world’s premier tennis event and as Wimbledon fortnight draws to a close, we thought it might be looking at some of the ‘official suppliers’ – the brands whose names you’ll see subtly dotted around the venue. Their support helps bolster the surplus income generated by the tournament which in turn goes back into the development of the game through the Lawn Tennis Association. But if you want to add these companies to your own share portfolio, understanding the companies behind the brands is key.
Slazenger has been the official ball supplier since 1902. You won’t find the company listed on the stock market, as it’s now one of the many sports brands owned by Mike Ashley’s sprawling retail empire, Frasers Group. The company apparently provided over 50,000 tennis balls for the competition this year.
Robinsons Squash branding used to be very much a mainstay of Wimbledon. Maybe it’s the rise of performance sports drinks that has seemed to push the company slightly to one side, but since 1935 they have been hydrating players. Again, you can’t buy shares in Robinsons, but it’s one of the many brands owned by London-listed Britvic.
The technology giant IBM is providing a world class digital experience to tennis fans through its partnership with Wimbledon. From serve speeds to the latest live match stats used by commentators, apparently that’s all powered by IBM. The partnership is now over 30 years old and this is also one of the few brands involved you’ll find you can invest directly into, with the company’s shares listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
Wimbledon is often described as a lavish garden party with a bit of tennis taking place in the background, so it seems fitting that champagne is part of the fabric. Lanson can trace its association with the tournament back to the 70’s and for the last 20 years has been the official champagne. You can’t buy shares in Lanson though, the company was swallowed up by private equity, but if you are gasping for some fizz in your portfolio, Paris listed LVMH could give you the necessary sparkle, as they own prestige marques including Krug, Moet and Veuve Clicquot.
The impeccably attired umpires at Wimbledon are all sporting Polo Ralph Lauren, who have been the official outfitter since 2006. Again, with shares listed in New York, there’s no need to investigate who owns the brand if you’re looking to add this iconic fashion label into your portfolio.
With all that money floating around, the tournament of course needs an official bank and that’s HSBC. They provide onsite banking services for players, the public and retailers and their shares are listed on exchanges across the globe including London, New York and Hong Kong.
Evian is the official water provider and has performed that role since 2008. The popular brand is now part of France’s Danone, a company that also owns brands like Alpro and Actimel. Its shares are traded on the Euronext Paris stock exchange.
Wimbledon even has its own coffee partner, Lavazza. This is a family-owned business that was founded in 1895 and has been caffeinating the hallowed corner of South West London since 2011. The company recently said it had no plans to list its shares on the stock market despite its size. Currently they employ almost 4000 staff and have sales well in excess of EUR2 billion a year.
If all that tennis is making you thirsty and neither champagne, squash or mineral water will do the trick, fear not. Stella Artois – official beer since 2014 – and Pimms – an official partner since 2017 – are both on hand. Stella is now owned by brewing giant ABInBev, with a primary listing of its shares on the Belgian Stock Exchange. Similarly, Pimms is owned by Diageo, a company perhaps better known for Guinness, whose shares trade on the London stock exchange.
With such a prestigious and truly English event, it’s perhaps no surprise that Jaguar has been the official car provider since 2015. They provide a fleet of cars to the event, centred around the I-Pace – the world’s first performance SUV. The brand is now owned by Tata Motors, who acquired it – along with Land Rover – from Ford back in 2008. Tata Motors’ primary listing is on the Mumbai Stock Exchange although so called American Depository Receipts which track the share price are available from the New York market.
Having a bank alone evidently doesn’t sate the financial needs of the event, so American Express has acted as the official payment partner since 2019. Shares in AMEX are openly traded on the New York Stock Exchange.
Smartphones are very much part of everyday life, so Oppo has taken on the role of being the official provider of this 21st century essential. This is apparently China’s biggest smartphone manufacturer and is owned by a privately held group, BBK Electronics. If you’re wanting to invest in smartphones however, there’s no shortage with the obvious names like Apple, Samsung and Nokia all readily investible.
And rounding out the list is Sipsmith, a new arrival in SW19 for 2021 and the tournament’s first official gin partner. Five years ago they were snapped up by Japanese food and beverage company Suntory, so although you can buy shares, you’re going to need a broker with the right connections in place. More mainstream gin brands are arguably easier to access, with Beefeater owned by London-listed Diageo, whilst Beefeater is from the stable of Paris-listed Pernod Ricard.