This year's WTA New Haven Open “promises to be a more intimate gathering” as the Connecticut Tennis Center “will consolidate its seating, so that only the box seats in the lower level of the stadium are available,” according to Lori Riley of the HARTFORD COURANT. Total attendance was “down last year" to 52,972 from the previous year's mark of 55,554. There were 4,840 fans at the final, and in a stadium “built to hold 15,000, a crowd of less than 5,000 looks sparse.” Tournament Dir Anne Worcester said, “We're consolidating everything. Everybody will be more up close than ever before." There will be “more in-stadium entertainment this year and all the corporate hospitality tents will be located on the concourse inside the stadium, as opposed to across the street” (HARTFORD COURANT, 3/6). Worcester said, "We knew that we had to be more realistic with who and what we are. So, we looked at all the ways we could increase the buzz and create more energy in the stadium." Worcester is "hoping to have a ‘packed house’ kind of atmosphere as many times as she can get through this new seating arrangement” (CTPOST.com, 3/4). In Connecticut, Chris Hunn wrote this year is “a critical year for the tournament.” The event is in the “final year of the three-year deal with its cornerstone sponsors: Yale University, Yale-New Haven Hospital, Aetna, American Express and First Niagara.” Worcester said that renewal talks “won’t begin to take place until the spring.” Worcester: “There’s still lots of work to do. We’re hoping for a super-strong field this year. This is a very good way to start, and in two weeks I’ll go down to the Sony Open and talk to the rest of the top 20 players and scout out some rising stars. I’m optimistic how things are shaping up” (NEW HAVEN REGISTER, 3/4).
CHANGE OF DATE: ATP World Tour Delray Beach Int'l Tennis Championships Tournament Founder Mark Baron said that the event “will move back a week next year and avoid the conflict of going head-to-head with the more-lucrative events in Dubai and Acapulco.” The change is “partly why the 32-player draw was watered down and attendance was the worst since 2006.” Baron joked, “I can't control the weather. God said, 'Not this week.' But I got next year. I'm working on a major sponsor and if it comes to fruition, the field will be tremendous” (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 3/4).