SBD/March 25, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

WTA Chair & CEO Stacey Allaster Says Tour Is On Firm Financial Footing

Allaster says WTA on firm financial
footing despite losing title sponsorship
WTA Chair & CEO Stacey Allaster said that the tour “has emerged from an extremely difficult economic period on firm financial footing, despite the end of Sony Ericsson’s landmark $88 million title sponsorship in 2010,” according to Douglas Robson of USA TODAY. Allaster said that “by taking back its name,” the WTA has been able “to ‘unlock’ the brand and diversify its financial backbone.” Allaster “pointed to new agreements with Swedish cosmetics maker Oriflame Cosmetics, Chinese apparel maker Peak, and budget airline Jetstar as evidence.” The WTA is “close to inking two more deals, including title sponsorship for its year-end championships to be held in Istanbul the next three years.” Allaster said that “a ‘verbal’ agreement was in place and expects an announcement within the next month.” In addition the WTA BOD this week “approved a new three-year business plan and is reviewing bids, including at least one from Australia, to host a Premier-level event during the first week of the season in January.” Allaster is “concentrating on boosting the brand in foreign markets, most notably in China," where it has set up an office and is "aiming to capitalize on rising stars" such as Australian Open finalist Li Na. Meanwhile, Robson notes the WTA “continues to cooperate across the aisle" with the ATP World Tour. The two member organizations “share various back office, IT, and marketing functions,” and discussions “are even underway with the ATP about the possibility of combining television rights from 2014 and beyond, which would be a landmark for the sport” (USA TODAY, 3/25).

SAFETY CONCERNS: The WTA “does not believe the radiation leak following the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan and severely damaged a nuclear plant will pose a health or safety risk to players attending the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo in the fall.” Kim Clijsters on Tuesday said that she “would not play in the event getting underway Sept. 25 or in another tournament in Beijing because of fears about radiation.” But the WTA on Thursday in a statement said, "At this time we do not have reason to believe that there is or will be a health or safety risk to our players or others participating in or attending the WTA's events this autumn in each of Tokyo and Beijing" (MAINICHI DAILY NEWS, 3/25).
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