SBD/October 24, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

WTA BOD Votes Unanimously To Extend CEO Allaster's Contract By Five Years

In 18 months, Allaster has secured $80M in total revenue and signed five new sponsors
The WTA BOD today announced that it has voted unanimously to extend the contract of Chair & CEO Stacey Allaster for another five years through '17. Since assuming that role in '09, Allaster has presided over several milestones for the organization, including securing $80M in total revenue and signing five new sponsors in the past 18 months, along with several renewals, for a 60% increase in sponsorship revenues. The most significant of those renewals is with lead sponsor Sony Ericsson (WTA). USA TODAY's Douglas Robson notes with the extension, Allaster is "in line to become the longest serving female chief executive in women's tour history." Allaster said, "For us to have this stability allows our organization to stay focused on growing the business." The unanimous vote to extend Allaster's contract "took place during board meetings last month in New York." If she finishes her term, Allaster will "trail only Jerry Diamond in longevity." Diamond ran the "fledgling WTA from 1974-86." Allaster is "credited with carrying out the so-called roadmap plan that streamlined the calendar to offset player absences (spearheaded by her predecessor, Larry Scott), as well as turning over sponsorship stones in a tough economic climate." Under her leadership, the WTA has "increased prize money, TV viewership and attendance at its biggest events." Allaster noted that the "explosion of social media" is a "big opportunity being exploited by the tour." She also said that the WTA is "in final stages of a new international broadcast deal with UK-based Perform that could double the number of live women's matches across multiple platforms (smart phones, tablets, etc.)" (USA TODAY, 10/24).

MORE LIVE TENNIS: TENNIS.com's Richard Pagliaro reported ESPN has "signed a four-year agreement with the WTA to carry live coverage of its events across multiple platforms." Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. ESPN and the WTA "will officially announce the partnership" today. The deal "includes exclusive rights" to WTA Premier event weekday matches, as well as rights to the WTA Championships singles final on ESPN2 and ESPN3, with live round-robin and semifinals coverage also on ESPN3. Coverage begins tomorrow with the WTA Championships from Istanbul. ESPN3’s live coverage "will feature select round-robin matches, both semifinals and the final." ESPN2 will "provide tape-delay television coverage of the final" at 1:00pm ET. This year's Istanbul matches will also be shown on Tennis Channel. Starting with the Sydney tournament in January, ESPN3 "will present live coverage of more than 70 matches from 11 events, including early rounds and select quarterfinals, annually between January-October." The net will "use the same commentators who work ESPN2’s television coverage and rely on the world feed when it is not providing television coverage of an event" (TENNIS.com, 10/23).
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