WTA kicks off year-end Championships and “Road to Singapore”

Tennis Canada

January 27, 2014, SINGAPORE (ISN) – The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) made several announcements today concerning the WTA Championships, its year-end crown jewel event which will take place in Singapore on October 17-26, 2014.

This year will mark the first time in the storied 44-year history of the Championships that a city in Asia-Pacific will host the prestigious event.

During a press conference in Singapore earlier today, WTA star Eugenie Bouchard, official WTA Championships Ambassador Chris Evert, WTA Chairman and CEO Stacey Allaster, and Andrew Georgiou, CEO of World Sport Group, unveiled numerous new elements of the WTA Championships.  

“We are excited to announce new elements of the WTA Championships that will engage the fans of women’s tennis with the WTA stars and turn our year-end event into a premier sports entertainment property,” said Stacey Allaster, Chairman and CEO of the WTA.  “The WTA is committed to the long-term development of the sports community in Singapore and through numerous programs we’ve put in place, we look forward to growing our fan base and empowering the people of the region through sports.”
“Asia continues to grow as a destination for global sports properties, with Singapore an important hub given its world class infrastructure and ability to host and execute to the highest level, said Andrew Georgiou, CEO of World Sport Group. “The investment in the Singapore Sports Hub creates an opportunity not only to host global events such as this, but to do so in a way that offers an engaging experience for corporates, but also visitors as well as Singaporeans of all backgrounds. The WTA Championships Singapore will have something for everyone.”    

The WTA Championships will be expanded into a 10-day sports entertainment event of competition, exhibitions and activities for the fans of women’s tennis in Singapore and around the world.  There will be seven days of competition starting in 2014, versus six in previous years, with eight days of competition in 2015 and on.  Additionally, the doubles competition will be expanded to four teams.
A new WTA Rising Stars Exhibition will take place during the opening Fan Festival weekend. The invitational event will feature the WTA’s up-and-coming talent from the Asian region and around the world. The WTA’s Rising Stars will compete in matches, attend and participate in the official draw ceremony, pro-ams, kids’ clinics, and engage in charitable and community outreach, in addition to other professional development training.
The new WTA Legends Exhibition will welcome some of the greats of the game back on the court. WTA Legends will be invited to attend the WTA Championships and participate in exhibition matches, and support corporate and community programs.

The WTA has opened an office in Singapore and once completed, will be part of the Singapore Sports Hub, the home of the WTA Championships.  Having the WTA team on the ground and working with the Singapore Sports Council (SSC) will provide opportunities to contribute to the development of the sport and to assist the SCC with their “2030 Vision” – to live better through sports. The WTA’s new Singapore marketing and operations team includes the new Asia-Pacific CEO Ryan Sandilands and WTA Championships Tournament Director Melissa Pine.

With a local Singaporean team living and working year round in Singapore, the WTA will launch a number of programs that will connect the WTA Championships with the people of Singapore.  One of the first programs the WTA will roll out includes the WTA Championships internship programs to enhance the sports marketing education for students in Singapore.  Additionally, the WTA will introduce a Fellowship Program, which will offer a grant to a Singaporean female MBA student to intern at the WTA’s headquarters in St. Petersburg, Florida for six months. The Fellowship will be offered once a year during 2014-2018.
The WTA will offer its expertise to the Singapore coaching community by bringing experts to the market who will share their knowledge through workshops.  WTA’s Sports Science and Medicine as well as Player Development staff will participate in sports summits and offer their knowledge of best practices in the development of female athletes.
In order to promote athlete development for young women throughout Asia-Pacific, the WTA will launch a new WTA Future Stars program in partnership with the Singapore Sports Council, which will showcase the top junior female talent in the region, with the emphasis on Southeast Asia.  Each market will create its own junior “Road To Singapore” tournament calendar, which will feed into WTA’s Future Stars tournament, to take place in conjunction with the WTA Championships.  The goal of this grassroots initiative, while still under development, is to promote health, fitness and empowerment of women through sport and to extend the reach of the WTA Championships throughout Asia.

WTA Legend Chris Evert, who won the season-ending WTA Championships four times during her illustrious career, will be involved year round in promoting the “Road To Singapore” and WTA Championships as an official ambassador.  During the WTA Championships, she will participate in community youth programs to inspire children to play sports.  She will also share her knowledge with the coaches from the region, participate in the fan promotions and help network with corporate partners in-market.

WTA’s strategic priority of growing the women’s tennis brand and tournament footprint in Asia started in 2008 with the opening of its first office in Beijing and upgrading the China Open to a Premier Mandatory event. With the addition of Singapore as the Championships host city, 17 events will be staged in the Asia-Pacific market in 2014.  Since 2008, attendance, broadcast and digital exposure have set new records in the region which has expanded the WTA’s fan base.
The WTA Championships will be staged within the state-of-the-art $1.3 billion Singapore Sports Hub and will be transformed into an international sport entertainment spectacle, significantly upgrading the fan experience with the introduction of new events.  WTA Championships corporate hospitality packages will be available and are expected to be on sale in February. Interested parties can register their details through www.wtachampionships.com <http://www.wtachampionships.com> . Tickets for the public will be available from the end of March, and will be ticketed through the Singapore Sports Hub Ticketing Office, the Official Ticketing Partner for the WTA Championships. Further ticketing details will be announced closer to the date of sales.
The fans of women’s tennis will have the opportunity to get closer to their favorite stars and the Championships via a season-long “Road To Singapore” journey.  Throughout 2014, fans can be engaged with the Championships and WTA stars’ journeys to Singapore by visiting the newly launched Championships website www.wtachampionships.com <http://www.wtachampionships.com> , Twitter (@WTACSingapore), Facebook (Facebook.com/WTAChampionshipsSG) and becoming a “Road to Singapore Insider”.  Through the dedicated platforms, newly launched for the “Road to Singapore” adventure, fans will enjoy unparalleled access to their favorite players’ season-long journey, including enhanced editorial coverage across all platforms.  
Singapore will become the ninth different city to host the WTA Championships following Boca Raton (1972¬1973), Los Angeles (1974-1976, 2002-2005), Oakland (1978), New York City (1977, 1979-2000), Munich (2001), Madrid (2006-2007), Doha (2008-2010) and Istanbul (2011-2013).