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Western & Southern Open renews title sponsor through 2014

Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, OH

The combined Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati has extended its relationship with the Western & Southern Financial Group for three more years, keeping the Cincinnati-based company as the title sponsor through 2014. Specific financial terms of the multi-million dollar agreement were not disclosed. “The Western & Southern Open is a world-class event that brings national and international recognition and incredibly positive economic impact to Cincinnati. We’re proud to continue our title sponsorship and help keep this terrific tournament such a valuable part of our community,” said John F. Barrett, President, Chairman and CEO of the Western & Southern Financial Group. The USTA is a majority of the Western & Southern Open, which is one of only five professional tennis tournaments outside the Grand Slams to host a top-tier men’s and women’s event during the same week. “Western & Southern has been a true partner of the event for more than a decade,” said Elaine Bruening, Tournament Chief Executive Officer. “It’s a perfect marriage between an iconic Cincinnati company and our historic event, first played here in 1899.” The prestigious Emirates Airline US Open Series event, which will be played this year from August 11-19, is the only tennis facility in the United States outside of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York to have four permanent stadiums. The Lindner Family Tennis Center, located in the Cincinnati suburb of Mason, is in the final year of a $24 million, three-year expansion. Andy Murray and Maria Sharapova are the defending champions.

Legg Mason Tennis Classic in D.C. changes name to Citi Open; Merges with WTA Tour event

Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal first reported that the ATP World Tour Legg Mason Tennis Classic in Washington D.C. will change its name to the Citi Open. The lower-level WTA Tour event, which was played last year at the site of the Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park, Md., will merge with the men’s tournament effective immediately. The new title sponsor deal with Citigroup will be for five years. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. World No. 9 Mardy Fish said on Tuesday that he will compete in the Citi Open this summer, which will be played from July 28-August 5.

San Jose ATP World Tour tournament to be eliminated in 2013; Rio de Janeiro gets event

Matt Cronin of TENNIS.com reports that the ATP World Tour tennis tournament in San Jose will be eliminated after the 2013 event. San Jose Sports & Entertainment Enterprises, which owns the NHL San Jose Sharks, will move its tournament from San Jose to the tournament week currently occupied by Memphis, which it also owns. The ATP Board of Directors approved last week in Monte Carlo the sale of the Memphis 500-level tournament to IMG, which alongside Brazil-based EBX will operate an ATP 500-level event in Rio de Janeiro, starting in 2014. The San Jose Sports organization also sold its WTA Memphis tournament to IMG, which will host a combined event in Rio de Janeiro. There have been talks that the tournaments in Rio will be played on hard courts, but nothing has been determined yet. The San Jose ATP event, which began in 1889 as the Pacific Coast Championships, was the second oldest tournament in the United States. Memphis will continue to operate as an ATP World Tour 500-level event in 2013 and then as a 250-level event from 2014 onwards.

BB&T becomes title sponsor of ATP World Tour Atlanta tournament

BB&T has agreed to become the title sponsor of the ATP World Tour Atlanta event, renaming it the BB&T Atlanta Open. The hard-court tournament was previously known as the Atlanta Tennis Championships. The partnership terms are for a minimum of three years and include official sponsorship of the USTA Southern Section, which represents approximately 25 percent of the national USTA membership. The Emirates Airline US Open Series ATP event will be played from July 14-22 at the Atlantic Station, a hot spot in the heart of Midtown Atlanta. “A solid sponsorship base is critical to the sustainable success of a professional tennis event in the Atlanta market,” said Bob Bryant, Tournament Director. “In BB&T, we gained a sponsor and a true partner in supporting this event and the avid Atlanta tennis community. We could not have found a better partner and look forward to BB&T’s active participation in the efforts of USTA Southern and the BB&T Atlanta Open.” 2003 US Open champion Andy Roddick, John Isner, Kei Nishikori, Kevin Anderson and Jack Sock are all expected to compete in this year’s tournament.

Champions Series Tennis Circuit renamed PowerShares Series

On Tuesday morning, InsideOut Sports + Entertainment announced that their highly popular Champions Series tennis circuit has been renamed the PowerShares Series. As the marketing agent for PowerShares QQQ Trust, an ETF based on the NASDAQ 100 index, Invesco PowerShares signed a multi-year agreement in 2011 to become the title sponsor of the InsideOut owned tennis tour. InsideOut Sports + Entertainment Founding Partners Jim Courier and Jon Venison commemorated the renaming by joining Invesco PowerShares Managing Director of Global ETF’s Ben Fulton at this morning’s Opening Bell Ceremony at the NASDAQ MarketSite in Times Square in New York City. Event details for the 2013 season including tournament dates and venues will be announced this summer. Players expected to once again compete include Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, John McEnroe and Courier. “We look forward to a fantastic season of PowerShares Series tennis,” said Jon Venison, Founding Partner of InsideOut Sports + Entertainment. “With legendary players competing across the United States this fall, PowerShares Series events will bring top flight tournament tennis and star power to the greatest sporting arenas in the country.” “The name change to PowerShares Series tennis reflects our ongoing support for this highly successful tour which has garnered valuable exposure for PowerShares QQQ,” said Jason Schoepke, Chief Marketing Officer at Invesco PowerShares. “We are confident the 2012 PowerShares Series tennis circuit will continue to advance the PowerShares brand with our core audiences and look forward to this year’s events.”

Wimbledon pay-raise targets lower ranked players

The Associated Press reports that the All England Club has increased prize money starting at this year’s Wimbledon by 10 percent, with majority of the cash directed to help lower ranked players. The men’s and women’s singles champions will each earn a record $1.85 million, but most of the $2.4 million prize money increase will go to players who lose in the qualifying and early main draw rounds. Players losing before the fourth round of the singles’ tournament will receive an increase of at least 13 percent. The 2012 Wimbledon will have a total of $26 million in prize money.

Luke and Murphy Jensen to spearhead Sea Island Tennis Program

Sea Island, a destination resort located in the Southeastern coast of Georgia, announced on Tuesday that 1993 French Open doubles champions and brothers Luke and Murphy Jensen will lead the resort’s tennis program. The Jensen Brothers will create programming, partnerships and instruction. Luke is currently the Head Women’s Tennis Coach at Syracuse University as well as an on-court television personality for ESPN. Murphy is currently the Head Coach of the World TeamTennis Washington Kastles. Murphy has led the Kastles to two WTT Championships in three years. The left-handed Jensen is also a brand ambassador for Lacoste. “I am looking forward to bringing a little Jensen Brothers excitement to Sea Island,” said Murphy. “Our energy and expertise combined with the resort’s state-of-the-art facilities will make Sea Island a tennis game changer. My goal is to create an all-encompassing program that taps into everything the resort has to offer, from its top-tier fitness trainers, on-site sports psychologists and award-winning Spa and Fitness center, to establish Sea Island’s reputation as a top tennis destination.” Sea Island features 16 Har-Tru® courts for guests and club members to enjoy. USPTA professional instructors provide a full-service program of year-round instruction for adults and children (which can be customized for skill level), clinics, round robins, and partner matching. For additional information on Sea Island’s tennis program, visit www.seaisland.com.

Japan’s Kei Nishikori featured in two commercials

World No. 17 Kei Nishikori of Japanwas recently featured in two commercials for UNIQLO polo shirts. The commercials can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQamkNqVyNE&feature=youtu.be and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gyE2NIVQroU&feature=youtu.be.

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About Justin Cohen
Justin Cohen is a graduate of Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, with a bachelor’s degree in Communications and Specialization in Journalism and was a member of the varsity tennis team, where he and his teammates finished as the runner-up at the 2006 NCAA Division II Men’s Tennis Championships. Justin began writing his weekly column, “This Week in Tennis Business with Justin Cohen” in July 2009. The following month, he covered the ATP/WTA Western & Southern Financial Group Masters and Women’s Open in Cincinnati, Ohio interviewing most of the top ranked players in the world. A lifelong tennis enthusiast who has enjoyed traveling to many professional tennis tournaments, Justin has much experience in the tennis industry. Previously, he worked at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association in Princeton, New Jersey, and also completed summer internships in ticket sales at the ATP/WTA Tour Western & Southern Financial Group Masters and Women’s Open in Cincinnati and in marketing at the Tennis Channel in Los Angeles.

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