Sponsorship: maple syrup, not attractive enough for Auger-Aliassime and Fernandez

On the eve of a new National Bank Tennis Open, maple syrup producers dreamed of a sponsorship with star tennis players Leylah Fernandez and Félix Auger-Aliassime, but the partnership did not materialize .

• Read also: National Bank Open: why sponsor a tennis tournament?

“We tried to see if there was a possible partnership for this year, to be a sponsor, but unfortunately that didn’t happen,” says Geneviève Martineau, director of communications at Les Producteurs et productrices acéricoles du Québec ( PPAQ), during an interview with The newspaper.

Yet, on paper, the table was set for such a partnership. In 2020, player Vasek Pospisil, in a state of grace, drank syrup on the pitch to give himself energy, which was praised by his compatriot Félix Auger-Aliassime.

Then, last year, the young player Leylah Fernandez, a real dynamite of the last United States Tennis Open, explained, in prime time, that the successes of Quebec players were explained by the consumption of the delicious elixir.

This little phrase spoken in the United States, the main export market for maple syrup producers here (76% of Quebec maple syrup is exported to our neighbors to the south), did not go unnoticed.


The Quebec Maple Syrup Producers have held sponsorship talks with Leylah Fernandez and Félix Auger-Aliassime's agent, Bernard Duchesneau.  However, the financial means of maple syrup producers here were no match for those of Subway or Weston, the Canadian agri-food industry giant that owns the Maxi banner.

Courtesy pictures

The Quebec Maple Syrup Producers have held sponsorship talks with Leylah Fernandez and Félix Auger-Aliassime’s agent, Bernard Duchesneau. However, the financial means of maple syrup producers here were no match for those of Subway or Weston, the Canadian agri-food industry giant that owns the Maxi banner.

Fruitless discussions

“Our board of directors found it very interesting that we were talking about syrup even tennis. Their desire was to see if we could have a partnership with them,” explains Ms.me Martineau.

A seed was made, gifts from maple were sent, and discussions took place with the players’ entourage. But the two sides did not agree.

“They had a lot of requests after their success at the US Open. In terms of what the agreement included and what they were asking for, for us, that didn’t suit us. Let’s say that a Gatorade was hard to beat, “explained Mme Martineau, with philosophy.

The deal didn’t necessarily include advertising, but a social media presence and brand identification.

“It is not excluded that we try an approach again, but for the moment it is not in our plans,” she said.

The agent of the two players, Bernard Duchesneau, did not answer the questions of the Log.

Major sponsors

While they’ve said no to maple syrup, the two star players have recently teamed up with deeper-pocketed sponsors. Fernandez is notably a partner of Subway, Gatorade, Lululemon and Google.

Auger-Aliassime has an agreement with Adidas and, again this year, he is participating in an advertising campaign with Maxi. Additionally, both players had promoted discount airline Flair.

Ambassadors

For its part, the maple syrup industry is trying to reposition its image to appeal to athletes in particular. Among the ambassadors, there is a certain Hugo Houle, recent winner of a stage of the Tour de France.

“Hugo is proud to contribute to the local and international influence of maple. During his visit to the Tokyo Olympics, he brought maple products in his suitcases,” revealed Gwenaëlle Marchand, PPAQ advisor.

The producers say they work with nutritionists and have produced several capsules associating the syrup with “fuel for athletes”.

Do you have information to share with us about this story?

Got a scoop that might be of interest to our readers?

Write to us at or call us directly at 1 800-63SCOOP.

Leave a Comment