Leading Chinese coffee chain Luckin Coffee has recently announced its partnership with two major sports events. On 7 January, Luckin sponsored the first running event of the year, the Xiamen Marathon by being its exclusive official coffee brand. The next day, Luckin announced its status as the exclusive coffee sponsor for the Australia Open tennis tournament in China and Southeast Asia.
Xiamen Marathon started in 2003 and is normally held in January in the coastal city of Xiamen, Fujian. It was classed as a “Gold Label Road Race” in 2008 by IAAF, among the first in China. It is famous for its scenic course on the coast of the city. In 2024, 30,000 runners participated in the race, and Asefa Boki and Bekelech Gudeta, both from Ethiopia, won the men’s and women’s races respectively. Luckin, being the official sponsor, brought to the event a coffee stall for the audience including a photobooth “check-in” point, as well as a drink stand providing beverages to runners. Cheerers dressed in Luckin’s blue livery were also spotted along the course, wishing the runners a “luck in marathon”.
One day after the race, Luckin announced its exclusive partnership with the Australia Open (AO), the first of the Grand Slam tennis events of the year. The tournament began on 7 January local time at Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Victoria and will run until 28 January. The topic “This is so AO” (#这很澳网#) was launched jointly by AO and Luckin and has gained 15.58 million views since then.
Both marathon running and tennis have been steadily gaining popularity among the younger generations. Last year we saw Tiffany designing the trophy and medals for the Shanghai Marathon, as well as Lacoste leveraging both its tennis heritage and the trending “tenniscore” fashion. Luckin has made a presence in both widely participated sports. The moves can help the brand increase awareness among the sporting community and deepen penetration amongst the casual participants and viewers, who are mostly of the same young and urban demographic.