Tennis: WTA to set up office in S'pore

Tennis: WTA to set up office in S'pore
Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) chief executive officer Stacey Allaster at the Sports Matters conference, which aims to gather key stakeholders in the global sports industry to create the foundations for a sustainable Asian sports industry. ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

Besides bringing its prestigious season-ending tournament to Singapore, the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) will also base its regional operations here to expand the sport across Asia.

In a keynote address during the inaugural Sports Matters conference at St. Regis Hotel on Wednesday, WTA chief executive officer Stacey Allaster revealed that it will set up an office in Singapore within the next year with a new regional head.

Melissa Pine, the tournament director of the WTA Championships - which will be held at the Indoor Stadium for five years, starting next year - will also relocate to the Republic to deliver what Allaster calls the "best Championships in our history".

"We're honoured to hand Singapore our crown jewel event; just as importantly, it will be our base to reach more of our fans in Asia," said Allaster, the only woman CEO of an international sports organisation.

According to the Canadian, WTA and its star-studded roster including Serena Williams, Li Na and Maria Sharapova boast 70 million global followers, 40 per cent of whom reside in China alone.

Its Beijing office, which opened in 2008, will focus on the East Asian market.

The WTA will hold a record 23 events in Asia-Pacific next year, and staging its showpiece tournament in Singapore is part of a wider strategy to capitalise on a key growth sector.

The US$6.5 million (S$8.2 million) WTA Championships will be a 10-day international celebration, including daily fan festivals, concerts and seven days of competition among the season's top eight singles players and top eight doubles pairs.

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