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Robinsons and Wimbledon end 86-year partnership

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Robinsons at Wimbledon
Robinsons at Wimbledon

Robinsons and Wimbledon have ended their 86-year partnership, bringing to an end one of the longest-running brand associations in sport.

The squash maker's lemon barley water was first concocted in the dressing rooms of the All England Lawn Tennis Club in 1935 to hydrate players.

The players enjoyed the drink so much that Eric Smedley Hodgson, the inventor behind the drink, was invited back to every game.

The drink then went into commercial production and started appearing by the umpire’s chair, where it has been ever since.

Robinsons squash has been a regular feature by the umpire's chair at Wimbledon - Ian Kington/AFP/Getty Images)
Robinsons squash has been a regular feature by the umpire's chair at Wimbledon - Ian Kington/AFP/Getty Images)

But it has been confirmed that the bottles of squash will not appear at this year's championship.

It brings to an end an iconic partnership, surpassed only by kit maker Slazenger's 119-year link with the tennis major.

In a statement, the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC), said: “After more than 80 years, we can confirm that the partnership between the AELTC and Robinsons has come to an end.

“We are tremendously proud of the historic association with Robinsons over so many years, and thank them for the wider role they have played in supporting Wimbledon and tennis across the UK."

The squash brand, owned by Britvic, had become synonymous with the Wimbledon Championships. The longevity of the deal has helped to intertwine two quintessential British brands.

Tennis legend John McEnroe at an event to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Robinsons' partnership with Wimbledon in 2010 - Neil Mockford/Getty Images
Tennis legend John McEnroe at an event to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Robinsons' partnership with Wimbledon in 2010 - Neil Mockford/Getty Images

Robinsons has enjoyed on-court branding during the championships every year. However, according to a report in SportBusiness, the partnership had started to fray last year after the two parties failed to agree about the extent of Britvic’s sponsorship rights.

The drinks company had reportedly wanted to promote all of its products, including drinks like Gatorade, Pepsi Max and Rockstar Energy at the championships. However, the tennis club is understood to have had reservations about being associated with other sugary soft drinks.

Additional drinks brands under the Britvic umbrella include J20, Fruit Shoot and Lipton Ice Tea.

It is understood the fruit drink and the club mutually consented to ending the brand’s deal as the Official Still Soft Drink after the staging of the 2021 tournament.

Neither party had made a statement until Robinsons revealed the news on Wednesday, when the company replied to a question from a follower on Twitter, saying:

A Britvic spokesman said: “We can confirm that Robinsons and the AELTC will not be renewing their Wimbledon partnership.

“We are tremendously proud to have been such a prominent partner to this historic tournament for so many years and the wider role we have played in boosting engagement with the game of tennis in the UK.”

In May this year, Robinsons was announced as the Official Soft Drinks Partner of The Hundred, a 100-ball cricket tournament involving eight men's and eight women's teams in major cities across England and Wales.

However, the England and Wales Cricket Board has already come under fire after its sponsor, KP Snacks, directed junk food promotions at children and two adverts were banned.

Gus Henderson, the AELTC’s new commercial director, has said that Wimbledon's sponsorship portfolio is “100 per cent contracted” for this year.

The tennis tournament has a large number of other sponsors from the food and beverage industry, including Evian, Häagen-Dazs, Lavazza, Stella Artois and Pimm’s.

Wimbledon runs from June 27 to July 10.

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