Feb 15, 2011 at 06:20 PM
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New Haven Tennis Tourney Secures Presenting Sponsor

The New Haven Open (formerly Pilot Pen Tennis) has secured First Niagara Bank as presenting sponsor for the next three years. The news comes only a day after the Buffalo-based bank said it will lay off 219 Connecticut workers, including 126 in New Haven and 93 in Manchester as part of an expected merger with NewAlliance Bank. Financial terms of the sponsorship deal were not disclosed.

“I am thrilled to announce that First Niagara will be our Presenting Sponsor for at least the next three years,” said tournament director, Anne Worcester. “When First Niagara President and Chief Executive Officer John Koelmel and I spoke in September, the future of the tournament was very much in doubt. John made it clear, at that time, that he understood the importance of the tournament to the New Haven community and that he intended First Niagara to play a significant role in supporting our future success.”

First Niagara joins Cornerstone Sponsors Aetna, American Express, Yale-New Haven Hospital and Yale University as major supporters of the women's tournament which will remain an Olympus US Open Series Event.

“Early on in our meetings with community leaders in New Haven, three things became readily apparent to me; the importance of this tournament to the New Haven economy, the many ways in which the tournament benefits New Haven neighborhoods, and the obvious synergy between the tournament’s focus and First Niagara’s commitment to youth mentoring and development programs,” Koelmel said. “Pledging our leadership support to this critically important tournament was one way that we could demonstrate First Niagara’s commitment to becoming an integral part of the community”.

Benefits of the deal will include will also receive tournament sponsorship benefits including signage which provides substantial branding exposure to more than 80,000 on-site spectators and millions of television viewers via eight hours of coverage on ESPN2, significant on-site exposure to connect with consumers, tickets and hospitality to entertain clients. First Niagara’s sponsorship activation will also have a strong emphasis on community outreach, officials said.