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U.S. OPEN WRAP-UP: COREL OFFERS SPONSORSHIP DEAL TO WTA
Published September 11, 1995
Corel Corp., an Ottawa-based computer software company, made a multi-year, multi-million dollar offer to sponsor the WTA Tour over the weekend at the U.S. Open. The tour wpould be renamed the "Corel WTA Tour" (IMG). The deal is worth approximately $4M, according to the TAMPA TRIBUNE. Corel has been involved in sponsoring Jimmy Connors' Champions Tour. Nokia, a Finnish electronics company, "also reportedly is interested in sponsoring the tour." The WTA is reviewing Corel's offer. The return of Monica Seles and her rivalry with Steffi Graf is seen as a big reason for the companies' interest in the tour (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 9/10). In Tampa, H.A. Branham called Saturday "a very good day for women's tennis" with news of a possible sponsorship deal and the Seles-Graf final (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 9/10). TV TIME: In New York, George Vecsey criticizes CBS and the USTA for holding the women's final in between the mens' semi- finals on Saturday, instead of giving them a day of their own. Vecsey: "It is disrespectful to stick the women's finals at some undetermined time between two men's semi-finals. ... Maybe [Graf- Seles] will force CBS and their lackeys at the Open to do the right thing next year and give the women their own day" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/9). In L.A., Mike Penner asks, "Who was the biggest winner at the Flushing Meadow Saturday? ... How about Nike" (L.A. TIMES, 9/10). RIVALRY HOT? MAYBE NOT: While the media trumpeted the Seles-Graf meeting, the Agassi-Sampras final was met with less enthusiasm. In Baltimore, John Eisenberg writes that Agassi- Sampras "isn't a great rivalry, at least not yet. And maybe never. .. The tennis poobahs want it. Nike wants it" (Baltimore SUN, 9/11). In Washington, Michael Wilbon calls the men's final a "dispassionate finish." Wilbon: "Championship tennis? Yes. Riveting? Not quite. ... Isn't a rivalry supposed to generate some emotional response? ... Heck, Agassi and Sampras make commercials together for Nike" (WASHINGTON POST, 9/11). In Minneapolis, Patrick Reusse writes, "No one has pushed the Sampras-Agassi angle harder than Nike" -- with the company's "influence" one of the key changes in the game since Bjorn Borg retired in '81 (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 9/11). In New York, Filip Bondy adds, "[They] slug tennis balls at each other for more than two hours, then head off the court toward their next endorsements" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/11). Nike "couldn't have had a more perfect day if it had arranged it itself," writes Tom Knott of the WASHINGTON TIMES. "Then again, perhaps Nike did arrange it all" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 9/11). DETROIT FREE PRESS' Mitch Albom: "They had Agassi, Sampras, Seles, Deion, Cal. I mean, nobody had a better week in sports than Nike" ("Sports Reporters," ESPN, 9/10). OPEN NEWS & NOTES: Sunday's crowd of 19,950 pushed the two- week total for the tournament to 504,806 (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 9/11)....Ratings for CBS' "Super Saturday" were up. From 11:00am-5:15pm, CBS had a 5.1/14 -- up 46% from last year. For the Becker-Agassi semifinal from 5:15-8:15, they received a 6.8/15 -- up 58% (L.A. TIMES, 9/11). ....The ATP Tour and the four major Grand Slam tournaments announced a multi-year deal changing the points awarded for majors and the ATP Tour's "Super 9" events. Majors will be worth twice as much as Super 9 events, provided they have twice as much prize money (TENNIS WEEKLY)....Workers at Chipman-Union, Inc. in GA, sent a letter to Adidas endorser Steffi Graf, asking her to end her affliation with the company. They held a demonstration outside the Open on Friday. Union members say the company, that makes Adidas socks, has been fined for health and safety violations, and has "been charged with race discrimination and sexual harassment" (Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE, 9/9)....The booth for the Arthur Ashe Endowment for the Defeat of AIDS was brought inside the main gate of the National Tennis Center after it had been moved to the boardwalk at the start of the tournament. The media "hammered" the original move, but the USTA denied it had "anything to do with shortchanging a non-profit organization in favor of well- heeled corporate customers" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/9). NEWSDAY's John Jeansonne give the USTA's an "ace" for the move back (NEWSDAY, 9/10).