The WTA Championships will head to Singapore from 2014 to 2018, where the Top 8 singles players and - for the first time - the Top 8 doubles teams will compete for a $6.5 million purse.
ST. PETERSBURG, FL, USA - Singapore will host the WTA Championships, the most prestigious event on the WTA calendar, from 2014 to 2018. Under terms of the record-setting five-year agreement, the Top 8 singles players and - for the first time - the Top 8 doubles teams will compete for a share of a record prize money purse of $6.5 million. The announcement follows an extensive global search and bidding process conducted by the WTA that elicited 43 expressions of interest from international cities that was narrowed down to three finalists - Tianjin, China; Monterrey, México; and Singapore.
"It gives me great pleasure to announce that the sensational city of Singapore has won the right to host the WTA Championships, the WTA's crown jewel season finale, for the next five years from 2014 to 2018," Stacey Allaster, Chairman & CEO of the WTA, said at Wednesday's announcement. "This is the largest and most significant WTA Championships partnership in our history. It's a record-breaker."
"Singapore is exciting. It's state of the art and we love the people. I am very much looking forward to the WTA Championships in Singapore in 2014," Allaster added at the announcement.
World Sport Group (WSG), a subsidiary of Lagardere Unlimited, with support from the Singapore Sports Council and the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), represented Singapore for the winning bid.
"Singapore is honored to have been selected as host for the WTA Championships," commented Mr. Lionel Yeo, Chief Executive Officer, Singapore Tourism Board. "This world class event is expected to draw local and foreign tennis fans and add to Singapore's reputation as a vibrant global city by complementing our existing suite of lifestyle offerings. It is also another example of STB's partnership with the private sector to introduce the right software that optimizes our excellent infrastructure."
"We are thrilled that the WTA Championships will be coming to Singapore. This is an excellent opportunity for the sports industry to showcase its capabilities in hosting world class events," Mr. Lim Teck Yin, Chief Executive Officer, Singapore Sports Council, said at Wednesday's announcement. "At the heart of the WTA are the ideals of inclusiveness; expanding women's roles in sport and society; inspiration and connection to the community through sporting heroes; creating role models for youth and energizing the growth of the game through world class events. We believe this event will inspire our athletes at home and those in the region, as well as engage the community at large at our new Sports Hub. The WTA Championships will herald a new phase of tennis development in Singapore, which will include enhanced capabilities in coaching and officiating for the benefit of all tennis enthusiasts."
The state-of-the-art $1.3 billion Singapore Sports Hub, located in the heart of the city, will host the WTA Championships at the 7500-seat, Singapore Indoor Stadium, an established venue with a history of hosting some of the biggest sports and entertainment performances from across the globe. The hosts will transform the year-end world class tennis event into an international entertainment spectacle featuring new events - WTA Future Stars, WTA Legends exhibition matches, concerts, coaches and trade symposiums, Women in Business Leadership Conference, daily fan festivals open to the public, and a VIP experience that will elevate the fan experience to a unique year-end celebration.
"Today's announcement reflects Singapore's growing status as a global sports and entertainment destination, adding to its stable of world class events," said Andrew Georgiou, Chief Executive Officer of World Sport Group. "WSG is proud to be in a position to work with the WTA, Singapore Tourism Board and Singapore Sports Council to bring such a successful and popular event to Singapore. With this event to be hosted at the soon-to-be-completed Sports Hub complex, we will be able to offer spectators an unforgettable experience, comprising world class competition, community activities and entertainment all in one place - something few other cities can provide on this scale."
With the addition of Singapore, 23 WTA events will be staged in the Asia-Pacific market in 2014, marking the first time in WTA history that there will be more tournaments in APAC than any other region in the world. Since 2008, when the WTA began its strategic priority to grow the brand and tournament footprint, five events have been added in the region, including the introduction of a new level of WTA professional tennis, the WTA 125K Series, to meet demand for the interest in women's pro tennis in Asia. Attendance, broadcast and digital exposure have set new records in the region.
"It's incredibly exciting to have our WTA Championships heading to Singapore, which is a fantastic sporting city," Maria Sharapova said of the announcement. "Women's tennis is truly international, and bringing our very best event to fantastic new markets like Singapore is great way to continue to grow the sport. I can't wait to help introduce the fans of Singapore to the year-end WTA Championships."
"Singapore is a wonderful city and I am really looking forward to playing our season finale in this exciting new market for women's tennis," Serena Williams said. "I've been fortunate to qualify for WTA Championships in five different cities during my career, and I know that our new partners in Singapore and the fans of Singapore will help make take our WTA Championships to new heights."
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 currently Istanbul (2011-2013).
2013 will be the 43rd staging of the WTA Championships (with the inaugural staging in 1972) and the third and final year the event be hosted in Istanbul. There have been 18 different winners in the event's history with champions from 10 different nations including Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams. Viewed by a record 43.8 million viewers with close to 1000 broadcast hours, the WTA Championships was the most-watched WTA event of 2012. Additionally, 2012 registered the highest attendance figures in 12 years with 73,072 fans and set record broadcast and digital audience milestones with coverage in 167 countries through 22 international TV broadcasters.
The record deal in Singapore follows on the record broadcast deal signed by the WTA with Perform in 2012, the signing of six new sponsors over the past three years, milestones in attendance, tournament expansion in China and Brazil, and record broadcast and digital exposure for women's tennis.
The Sports Consultancy, a leading sports bid management consultancy, managed the WTA's global tender process, the first time in the WTA's history that it had conducted an international tender process.