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).