Russell Athletic has formed a new partnership with the Australian Open tennis tournament. The agreement involves developing and marketing an exclusive line of Australian Open athletic apparel and providing uniforms for the tournament's more than 800 on-court officials.

“The Australian Open is a premier international sporting event, and we are excited to have the Russell Athletic brand associated with the tournament,” said Dan Peterson, chief operating officer of Russell International.

“Throughout our global operations in North America, Europe and Asia/Pacific, Russell has seen the value of aligning our brand with major sporting events and activities,” Peterson added. “By partnering with events that share our vision of quality performance, we build brand recognition in line with our brand strategy. Examples of such partnerships include Russell Athletic's involvement with American high school and college football teams, Little League baseball, and the Australian Football League.”

Russell Athletic's three-year association with the Australian Open, which covers the 2005 to 2007 tournaments, will include a line of performance and athletic wear. Products will be available year-round through various retail outlets in Australia and other Asia/Pacific markets where the tournament and tennis are of growing interest. Additionally, the partnership will offer retail and merchandising opportunities with the 500,000 visitors at the tournament and an additional 1.8 million tennis fans worldwide who log onto the official tournament website.

The next Australian Open will take place in Melbourne from January 17-30, 2005.