Friday, June 29, 2007

It's Official!

The Sony Ericsson Championships will have a new home next November and qualifying players will receive a substantial raise. Doha, Qatar, host of the 2006 Asian Games, will host the 2008-2010 Sony Ericsson Championships, the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour announced today.

Under terms of the $42 million, three-year agreement, the Sony Ericsson Championships will feature record prize money of $4.45 million, equal to that of the ATP’s season-ending Tennis Masters Cup. The singles winner’s check of $1,485,000 represents the largest single guaranteed payout in women’s tennis today.

"The awarding of our Sony Ericsson Championships to Qatar represents an exciting continuation of our strategy to showcase the very best of women’s tennis in different regions and markets throughout the world," said Sony Ericsson WTA Tour CEO Larry Scott. "Doha has been a longstanding supporter of women’s tennis, including having held the first women’s professional tennis event in the Middle East in 2001, and has demonstrated the ability to successfully host world class sporting events such as the 2006 Asian Games. This agreement, along with the significantly increased prize money to be offered, also demonstrates the value that the Tour’s Roadmap circuit structure plans have injected into the sport. I am particularly thrilled that in the year that both Wimbledon and Roland Garros made historic decisions to award equal prize money to the women, our Sony Ericsson Championships will for the first time ever in 2008 offer equal prize money of $4.45 million."

The Tour also announced today that Istanbul has been awarded the Sony Ericsson Championships for 2011- 2013. The event will feature equal prize money and the Istanbul organizers plan to build a state of the art new 10,000 seat stadium that will be the home of the event.

"We’re thrilled to have been awarded the honor to host the Sony Ericsson Championships for 2011-2013, the most prestigious tournament in women’s tennis," said Coskun Erginer, Managing Director of the Istanbul Cup. "Tennis is growing very rapidly in Turkey, and we are committed to building upon the great tradition of the Sony Ericsson Championships."
The Championships concluded a disappointing four-year run at Los Angeles' Staples Center in November of 2005 before moving to Madrid last year. In addition to apathetic attendance, staging the tournament on the west coast minimized media coverage as most matches were completed well after deadlines for European publications.

Fairly safe choices. Doha can offer what no other location can - do-re-mi and duty free shopping.
Turkey is pushing to become part of the European Union and that issue should be resolved by 2011.
I would love to have seen them overcome what I'll call regionalism and pick Monterey Mexico but I can say that these are the two choices I thought they'd go with.

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