Tennis: WTA Championships starts to serve up local angle

Tennis: WTA Championships starts to serve up local angle
Minister S Iswaran (middle, in coat), talking to some of the children who are coached by the Singapore Tennis Association (STA). He is accompanied by Melissa Pine (left), WTA's vice-president and tournament director for Asia-Pacific, and Simon Cheong (right), SC Global chairman.

Local interest in Singapore's five-year hosting of the BNP Paribas Women's Tennis Association (WTA) Championships is heating up, and the attention is not just coming from fans.

Organisers are optimistic that homegrown companies are also starting to take note of the prestigious season finale for professional women's tennis, which kicks off its first of five editions here this year.

World No. 1 Serena Williams and Australian Open champion Li Na are likely to feature.

Luxury lifestyle property developer SC Global paved the way yesterday when it was unveiled as the presenting sponsor of the US$6.5 million (S$8.2 million) tournament, signalling the first involvement from a local company in the Oct 17-26 event at the Sports Hub.

More local partnerships could soon follow, said Andrew Georgiou, chief executive of event promoter World Sport Group.

"We're seeing a (growing) momentum from local companies to invest (in the Championships)," he added. "It's important in making this event 'Singapore-based'.

"Our focus is on (giving) as many local companies a good experience of sponsorship as possible so that they understand its value and keep sponsoring local sport."

Minister in the Prime Minister's Office and Second Minister for Home Affairs and for Trade and Industry S. Iswaran, who was present at yesterday's sponsorship announcement at the Singapore Cricket Club, also drove home the point that an event like the WTA Championships provides opportunities for both businesses and the wider community.

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