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SBD/12/Sponsorships Advertising Marketing
IS TENNIS IN NEED OF SOME SEXUAL HEALING? WTA TOUR THINKS SO
Published March 12, 1999
The WTA Tour is using "sex appeal" to "revive interest" in the sport among fans and corporate sponsors, according to Kurt Streeter of the L.A. TIMES. Marketers hope the women's tour, "with more personable stars than the somewhat dull men's circuit, will lift the fortunes of the entire sport. But some worry that women's tennis is in danger of reducing its athletes to starlets known more for their looks than their game." Women's Sports Foundation Exec Dir Donna Lopiano: "If the tour starts portraying them too much as sex objects, the public is not going to treat them as athletes." WTA Tour Dir of Marketing Susan Marenoff: "We've chosen to market our players this way because this is what Madison Avenue wants." adidas Publicity Dir Jennie Craig: "The women on the tour, as a whole, are presenting themselves with the sporty, sexy image we want for our company." The Tour is also starting to leverage its association with New Regency Enterprises' Arnon Milchan, as Venus and Serena Williams "had screen tests last week" at New Regency for upcoming film roles (L.A. TIMES, 3/12).