SBD/12/Sponsorships Advertising Marketing

IS TENNIS IN NEED OF SOME SEXUAL HEALING? WTA TOUR THINKS SO

          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).

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