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Did WTA Championships Leave Istanbul Despite Success For Larger Deal In Singapore?
Published October 28, 2013
THE CHINA SYNDROME: In N.Y., Ben Rothenberg reports having Li Na playing in the WTA "has increased interest in tennis in China." Allaster said Li's success is "definitely a contributing factor" in the WTA Championships' move to Singapore. But Allaster added that "making decisions based on one player was not a sound business strategy, citing the somewhat cautionary tale of the disappearance of women’s tennis from India during the decline of the singles career of Sania Mirza." Allaster said of the WTA's focus on China beginning in '06, "There was no Li Na on the horizon. But it was a strategic decision. When we looked at the growth of markets, G.D.P. growth, coming on the heels of the Olympic Games, you needed a presence in China. And that strategy was to be in market so that we can learn culture, how to adapt our communication to that audience. Educate media year round, and a big event that creates the promotional platform." Allaster added, "It’s a playbook right out of [NBA Commissioner] David Stern. He went to China 30 years ago. There was no Yao Ming. But he said to CCTV, here’s NBA basketball. And look at how the NBA has developed its brand and business in China. Be in a market, seed the market, and be ready when the gift comes and a champion rises, you’re ready to capitalize on it. And that’s what we were able to do" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/28).
GRUNT WORK: USA TODAY's Robson reported the WTA has "quietly begun testing noise levels at tournaments as it explores how to rid the sport of unwarranted grunting." Allaster said that the tour had "initiated audio tests with on-court measuring devices at tournaments," although she "gave scant specifics." She added that the WTA had "engaged an unnamed research firm with expertise in urban noise levels to assist with the gathering of data." She said that it was "too early to discuss details or timelines about how the research would be collected, measured and presented." The focus for now "remains on education." The WTA also is "looking at ways to correlate broadcast tapes with data from its new software analytics partner, SAP, to see if harder strokes are producing louder sounds" (USATODAY.com, 10/26).