WTA Signs Five-Year Deal To Hold Its Season-Ending Championships In Singapore
The WTA awarded Singapore its season-ending championships for five years beginning in ‘14, culminating an 18-month search for the next host city, according to Daniel Kaplan of SPORTSBUSINESS DAILY. Singapore was selected from an initial group of 40. The final cities were Singapore; Tianjin, China; and Monterrey, Mexico. The championships will grow in Singapore to include doubles championships, a stars of tomorrow event and fan engagement activities stretching over 10 days. WTA Chair & CEO Stacey Allaster said her hope is to mimic the type of atmosphere the Super Bowl enjoys in the week leading up to the game. Singapore also adds to the WTA’s Asia–Pacific strategy, she said, making the region the top one now in women’s tennis. Allaster declined to disclose financial terms, but said the prize money would increase to $6.5M next year from $6M this year in Istanbul. Lagardere unit World Sports Group advised the Singapore bid (SPORTSBUSINESS DAILY, 5/8). REUTERS' Patrick Johnston reported the event "will take place at the Sports Hub complex," which is due to be finished by the first quarter of '14 at a cost of S$1.3B ($1.05B). The complex "will feature a 55,000-seater stadium with retractable roof, a 13,000 indoor stadium, aquatics center and water sports center." The venue "could be key for sports and entertainment businesses to tap into the lucrative southeast Asian market with Singapore's low crime rate and overall ease of doing business a rarity amongst nearby nations" (REUTERS, 5/8).
FOLLOWING THE LEADER: The BBC's Bill Wilson wrote "the move to Singapore follows other big name sports events being held there," including the F1 Grand Prix, golf's HSBC Women's Champions and the 2010 Youth Olympic Games. Allaster said the winning bid team was "very entrepreneurial" and shared the WTA's thoughts about making the championships a leisure and lifestyle event, as well as a tennis one. Analyst Ben Heyhoe Flint, head of Asia-Pacific at Fuse, Omnicom Media Group's sports and entertainment division, called the announcement "a feather in the cap" for Singapore. He said, "It is really impressive that they have managed to get this in the bag... it is the year-end event of a major sport" (BBC, 5/8).