The other big winner at Wimbledon
The biggest shock at the Wimbledon Tennis Tournament this year was Sam Querry beating Novak Djokovic. Djokovic, a 12-time Grand Slam champion holds all four major titles and has won the last two Wimbledon tournaments. It is arguably one of the biggest surprises in the tournament’s 139-year history
The match started on Friday and, after rain stopped play, finished on Saturday. This meant that Querry was on the front and back pages of Sunday newspapers all over the world.
This also meant that his tennis shirt – which is branded by Wheels Up – was seen by millions of people.
Querry is one of Wheels Up’s ambassadors. Others include golfer Rickie Fowler, Nascar driver Joey Logano, Superbowl champion Russell Wilson and Chris Blackwell, the creator of Island Records and Blackwell Island Rum. Last year the company sponsored the silks of Victor Espinoza who won the 2015 Triple Crown on American Pharaoh. In total the company has around 100 brand ambassadors.
All of this is not cheap. But Kenny Dichter, founder and CEO of Wheels Up, has always said he wants it to be the biggest brand in business aviation. This is hard to measure, but Google Trends shows it is searched for more than any other business aviation company in the world (you can test this out here). There was a huge spike when American Pharaoh won.
It has just launched a new tag line – Up The Way You Fly – and is running advertisements featuring brand ambassadors and members on CNBC, FOX Business, Bloomberg and ESPN (you can see it here).
Dichter says the brand awareness is generating lots of interest – and most importantly – yielding lots of new members. Wheels Up started flying in October 2013. This week it signed its 3000th member. It aims to hit 5000 members by the end of the year. The Sunday after Querry’s win, it had more than 100 revenue flights in a day. Wheels Up – whose aircraft are operated by Gama – took delivery of 11 new King Air 350i aircraft in the first half of this year (also great news for Textron Aviation). It closed a second debt facility in May, this time raising $120 million to finance its next 23 King Air 350i aircraft.
One of the least surprising Wimbledon finalists is Serena Williams. She plays in her ninth Wimbledon final tomorrow. Williams is a Wheels Up ambassador – and investor – who has said that: “Travelling with Wheels Up has changed my life.”
Dichter adds: “One great things about the King Air 350i is that it can carry a lot of trophies.”