THE MODERATOR: I'd like to introduce some very important people. A very special welcome to all our guests from Kia.
From the Republic of Korea, we welcome the executive vice president, chief operating officer, Mr. Thomas Oh. We're delighted you could join us.
Of course, the man after whom the stadium is named, Mr. Rod Laver, who achieved the Grand Slam twice throughout his stellar career, in 1962 and 1969.
Also joining us, the chief executive officer of Tennis Australia Mr. Steve Wood, and the president of Tennis Australia, Mr. Stephen Healy.
I'd like to invite Mr. Thomas Oh to say a few words.
THOMAS OH: First of all, good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, and thank you for joining us.
On behalf of everyone at Kia Motors and our friends at Tennis Australia, I'm extremely proud to announce that an agreement has been reached for Kia to continue to serve as the major sponsor of this great Australian Open for an additional five years until 2018.
It's hard to believe 12 years have already passed since our partnership with Tennis Australia first began. In fact, the 2002 edition of the Australian Open was Kia's first ever major international sports sponsorship and we have expanded our sports marketing portfolio over the years. The Australian Open remains our most cherished sports partnership.
In particular, the Kia brand has enjoyed continuous increases in brand exposure and media value as a result of this great sponsorship.
I would like to thank Steve Healy and Steve Wood and all the members of the Tennis Australia, the players, and the great fans for their support and passion over the years that has made our sponsorship of the Australian Open such a great success.
The basic structure of our new five year agreement will remain relatively unchanged. Kia will continue to supply official tournament vehicles every year for the safe transportation of players, officials and visitors. And our commitment to boosting the on and off line experience of Australian Open fans will continue with the Kia Grand Slam site in downtown Melbourne and the Kia Fan of the Day and Fan of the Tournament contest.
I do believe dynamism and the passion we see on the court here in Melbourne are the perfect embodiment of what the Kia brand stands for, and this has driven us to deepen our commitment to this tournament and to the game of tennis.
Also I believe Kia's involvement with the Open over the years has played a significant role in the tournament's tremendous growth in popularity.
Our renewal will continue to help realize the full potential of this wonderful event.
In closing, I will take this opportunity to congratulate everyone involved in the Australian Open for another incredible spectacle, and I look forward to the success of our long and enduring partnership.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Mr. Oh.
I'd now like to invite Mr. Stephen Healy to say a few words.
STEPHEN HEALY: Good afternoon, everyone.
Kia Motors Corporation executive vice president and COO Thomas Oh, Rod Laver, special guests, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to what is a landmark day in the history of the Australian Open.
As announced here at Melbourne Park just prior to Australian Open 2013, we are incredibly proud to have signed a five year extension of our long and successful partnership with Kia Motors Corporation.
Once again, in 2013, the Australian Open has delivered almost a fortnight of outstanding tennis and we look forward to two very exciting finals this weekend.
For two weeks we have had classic matches, record crowds, and the eyes of a global audience fixed on Melbourne Park. Every year Kia plays an integral role in the Australian Open experience. The fleet of more than 100 Kia vehicles that descends on Melbourne each summer acts as a valuable advertisement for both the Australian Open and Kia brands. We certainly know it's Australian Open time when we see the Kia fleet drive driving in and around the city. This is one of many terrific initiatives that make us the biggest sporting event in the world in January.
The Kia Australian Open business partnership has developed into one of the most successful agreements in sport, in the Asia/Pacific region, and it is a credit both to the sport of tennis and Kia Motors Corporation.
We hope all of our guests joining us from Korea enjoy the Australian Open 2013 and we thank them for the role they play in making the Grand Slam of Asia/Pacific the outstanding event it is today.
THE MODERATOR: Now, I'd like to introduce the chief executive officer of Tennis Australia, Mr. Steve Wood, to say a few words.
STEVE WOOD: Firstly can I say how delighted I am with today's signing ceremony and how honored we all are to be here joined by Australian tennis legend Rod Laver.
This partnership between the Australian Open and Kia is very important. This association is one of the key sponsorships in world sport and a large part of the success of our great event.
Our sponsorship agreement dates back to 2002. Since that time, with the ongoing support of Kia Motors, we've created one of the largest sporting events in the world.
The Australian Open continues to grow each year. Much of that success can be attributed to our partnership with Kia. We're very privileged to say that with Kia's ongoing support we know we can reach even greater heights years into the future.
It's been a great compliment to the event that we have signed a world class major sponsor through until 2018. Our association with Kia, their on site activation, and their integration with the Australian Open experience, greatly enhances the participation that our fans have and the perception of the event.
From Kia's marquee on the Grand Slam oval, to the Open drive, to the Fan of the Day experience, and Fan of the Tournament campaigns, they all contribute to the tournament and make the Kia brand very visible and a valuable contribution to the tournament.
I look forward to working closely in association with Kia Motors Corporation for another five years and to achieving new heights together.
THE MODERATOR: Now Kia Motors corporation and Tennis Australia will sign the sponsorship agreement. (Agreement signed.)
THE MODERATOR: Kia Motors has now officially extended their major sponsorship of the Australian Open for another five years until 2018, a memorable moment here for the Australian Open and tennis in Australia. We thank the Kia Motor Corporation who do an outstanding job and will do so in the future.
We will take questions from the floor.
Q. Thomas Oh, how important is it for Kia's Asia/Pacific promotion to have an Asian player perform here well every here?
THOMAS OH: Frankly speaking, we get involved with a lot of sports sponsorship, particularly speaking of the Australian Open. As they say, what's good for the goose is good for the gander. Kia Motors and the Australian Open has a lot of benefits from this great sponsorship.
For example, since 2009, Kia Motors brand exposure has grown by more than 50%, and media value was grown by more than 100%.
Also in terms of sales around the world, we have grown in between 2002, when we started this sponsorship, and last year 2012, 2002 we sold globally only 950,000 cars. Last year we sold 2.7 million cars, exactly 184 times versus 10 years ago.
Particularly in China last year, we sold more than half a million cars. So in that I think this great sponsorship has improved our image and also increased our awareness among the customers very much. I view it this way.
Q. Mr. Laver, how do you feel to have a Chinese face return to the final in your house after two years?
ROD LAVER: I'm thrilled to be a part of the Kia announcement to further the success the Australian Open has had here for the past 10, 15 years. It just keeps getting larger and larger. When you see 70,000 people here last week at a day session, it's just marvelous to see the successes that the Australian championships have had.
I think when you see the publicity that's going with Kia and then when you look at the development around here, we just went across to the new facilities with the 10 or 15 courts that have gone in, and it's going to help the young players. I think in the next four or five years we're going to be able to find some brilliant young kids out of this area.
I think this is just another rung on the ladder that says Australia is going to get in the mix in the world to come.
THE MODERATOR: We have a terrific day here with the men's semifinal tonight and the women's doubles final shortly on court. We thank you for joining us today for the Kia Motors Australian Open renewal signing ceremony.
Hope you enjoy the last couple days of the Australian Open 2013, brought to you by Kia Motors.