WTA financially strong course economic storm

March 18th, 2009 - 8:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Indian Wells (California), March 18 (DPA) The Women Tennis Association (WTA) is well-placed to withstand the current world economic downturn with major sponsors all healthy, though boss Larry Scott says he expects no growth in tournament revenues this year.
“We are fully sponsored, they’ve not gone away. We’re doing better than a lot of other sports,” said the CEO during a visit to the Indian Wells Masters Tuesday. “There is anecdotal evidence that entertainment and sport do not suffer so much in a recession.

“People don’t want to give up their diversions.”

Scott said title sponsor Sony-Ericsson is committed through 2010 to a tour which has increased prize money by 23 per cent for 2009 to $86 million for 55 events in 30 countries.

In addition, five of eight secondary sponsors have all re-signed contracts in recent months. “The tour is in a very healthy position,” Scott said. “We have a steady revenue stream through long-term deals.

“As far as I know, no tournament has lost a title sponsor.”

The WTA is in good health compared to the men’s ATP, which has failed to replace global sponsor Mercedes-Benz after the decade-long relationship ended at the end of 2008.

As a result, the body has been offering tournaments a 25-per-cent rebate of sanctioning fees to make up in part for the loss of Mercedes revenue to individual events.

Scott added the WTA has actually increased sponsorships, with Hewlett-Packard signing on for a new event in Osaka, Japan, which was moved from Tokyo.

But he warned that he cannot see a scenario where events will increase revenue during this crisis year. “I’m expecting a drop of around 10 to 20 per cent, everyone will surely be down.”

Scott said he will have to teach a few facts of current economic life to players at meeting in Miami Tuesday.

With a constituency made up of multi-millionaires supported by all-earning minor players, the executive said tennis players need to be aware of the state of the rest of the world.

“I’ll be asking players to work hard on interacting with fans and sponsors,” said Scott, an ATP executive for 13 years. “We have to careful on expenses and watch our financial situation.

“We need to get everyone to step up and help right now.”

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