By Justin Cohen @JustinCohen44
According to a tweet from Daniel Kaplan (@dkaplanSBJ) of the SportsBusiness Journal, Monterrey, Mexico, Tianjin, China and Singapore have made the final cut to host the year-end WTA Championships starting in 2014 and beyond. Previously a finalist, Kazan, Russia has been eliminated from the list of possible host cities. WTA Chairman and CEO Stacey Allaster will visit Monterrey this week, Singapore the week of February 25 and Tianjin the week of March 4. The winning host city will be announced in April. “The WTA Championships provide cities around the world a stage on which their cities can be showcased. I am very pleased with the amount of international interest the Championships’ bidding process has received,” Allaster said. “I look forward to meeting with each finalist city and having the opportunity to review, in-person, the details of each bid.” The WTA Championships, which current site is in Istanbul, Turkey, features the Top 8 singles players and Top 8 doubles teams of the season competing for $4.9 million in prize money.
Several attendance records set during 2013 Australian Open
The overall tournament attendance this year at the 2013 Australian Open in Melbourne was 684,457, which fell just short of the 2012 record of 686,006 fans. A new second-Sunday record of 25,061 fans attended the Men’s Championship between World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and No. 3 Andy Murray, witnessing Djokovic become the first man in the Open Era (1969) to win three consecutive titles in Melbourne en route to his fourth overall Australian Open crown. The previous second-Sunday record was set in 2009 with 22,098 fans packing the stands. Day 13 attendance was 20,036, a new second-Saturday record. Day 13 was the day of the Women’s Championship between World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka and China’s Li Na. Also noteworthy, a second-Friday record of 22,103 fans was in attendance, breaking the previous record of 20,230 set in 2012.
Broadcast/Media and Digital/Social Media Facts from 2013 Australian Open
At this year’s Australian Open in Melbourne, more than 720 journalists, photographers and videographers were credentialed as media, including 315 international media from 40 different countries. Asian media were represented as 22 percent of all international media. More than 27 different television networks were on site during the first Grand Slam of the year, broadcasting to more than 200 countries. As of January 26, there were 14.1 million unique visitors to the official Australian Open website. The most popular female players of the event were Sloane Stephens (252,444 player profile views), Maria Sharapova (222,476), Victoria Azarenka (193,901), Li Na (184,469) and Serena Williams (143,909). The most popular male players were Roger Federer (348,799), Novak Djokovic (239,884), Andy Murray (178,949), Jeremy Chardy (116,689) and Bernard Tomic (113,062). This year’s Australian Open Facebook Fan Page grew to 887,158 likes and a weekly reach of 6.1 million, while the official Twitter Page grew to 155,738 followers. The official Australian Open Android App attracted roughly 47 million page views throughout the two-week event.
China contributed the third-highest number of visitors to the 2013 Australian Open official website
According to the Australian Financial Review, China is now contributing the third-highest number of visitors to the Australian Open’s website, displacing the UK. This year, 9.3 percent of online visitors are from China, behind Australia (23 percent) and the US (16.4 percent). It may have a lot to do with Tennis Australia’s decision this year to use Chinese social media sites Sina Weibo (the equivalent of Twitter) and a new online partnership with one of the big four portals in China, sports.qq.com. In the first few days of the tournament, downloads of the Mandarin scoreboard built into this site were just over 1 million. Through the first Sunday of the tournament, China’s Li Na and Serena and Venus Williams were the most tweeted about WTA Tour players.
Mary Heath named Chief Marketing Officer for International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum
The International Tennis Hall of Fame & has announced the promotion of Mary Heath to the new position of Chief Marketing Officer. Heath has been the Senior Director of Sales & Partnership Marketing for the Hall of Fame since 2008. Heath brings more than 30 years of experience to the new role, having previously held positions as a Vice President of IMG’s Tennis Division and as an ATP World Tour and WTA Tournament Director. For more than a decade, she was the co-owner of Rhode Island based Perennial Events, a firm that handled sponsorship sales and event management for clients including Target, Peter Jacobsen Productions, CVS Caremark, the Preservation Society of Newport County, and Swarovski. ”I am very pleased to announce Mary’s well-deserved promotion to Chief Marketing Officer of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum,” said Mark L. Stenning, CEO. “In recent years, she has successfully developed the Hall of Fame’s relationships with sponsors, resulting in increased awareness for our mission and development of the Hall of Fame’s programs. With Mary’s great talents and expertise, and her dedication to the sport, she is the right person to lead our sales and marketing efforts as we look to grow the organization in the future.” In her new role, Heath will be responsible for sponsorship sales and activation of sponsor programs for the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum, as well as the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, an ATP World Tour tournament, and the annual Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend. She will also continue her role as event director for The Legends Ball, the Hall of Fame’s annual gala fundraiser hosted during the US Open in New York City. In addition, Heath will have oversight of all sales, marketing, and public relations initiatives of the organization.
Davis Cup in Jacksonville to hold free, open practice sessions today
The U.S. and Brazil Davis Cup teams will each hold free, open practice sessions for fans to come watch the players practice prior to competing in the World Group First Round at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla. Doors will open for the Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013 open practice at 3:45 p.m. The event is free and limited to the first 600 fans. Fans will not need a ticket and may enter the arena through the main entrance along A. Philip Randolph Blvd. Free parking is available on a first-come, first-serve basis in Lot Z on the corner of Duval Street and Palmetto Street. The U.S. team will practice from 4-5 p.m., and the Brazil squad from 5-6 p.m. (the USTA cannot guarantee that all players will be in attendance during these practice windows). The U.S. team is comprised of John Isner, Sam Querrey, Bob and Mike Bryan, and Captain Jim Courier. The Brazil team features Thomaz Bellucci, Thiago Alves, Marcelo Melo, Bruno Soares, and Captain Joao Zwetsch. The Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena Box Office will also be open until 4 p.m. for fans who wish to purchase tickets for the Feb. 1-3 matches.
Delray Beach International Tennis Championships adds Monfils, Cilic, Dolgopolov to player field
Former Top 10 player Gael Monfils, current World No. 13 Marin Cilic and No. 23 Alexandr Dolgopolov have committed to play in the 2013 Delray Beach International Tennis Championships, joining early signees John Isner and Kei Nishikori. Monfils will be playing in the South Florida event for the first time in his career. This year’s tournament will be held at the Delray Beach Tennis Center on Atlantic Avenue from February 22-March 3.
World No. 19 Kohlschreiber commits to ATP World Tour 250 event in Kitzbühel
Following his third-round loss at the Australian Open in Melbourne, World No. 19 Philipp Kohlschreiber hit the slopes at the world famous Hahnenkamm Mountain ahead of this weekend’s Alpine Ski World Cup event, to announce that he will compete in the ATP World Tour 250 event in Kitzbühel. The German joins top-ranked Austrian Jurgen Melzer as early commitments. This year’s bet-at-home Cup 2013 will take place from July 28-August 3.
Former Wimbledon Champion Conchita Martinez named Captain for Spain’s Fed Cup team
The Spanish Tennis Federation announced that former Wimbledon Champion Conchita Martinez will take over as Captain of Spain’s Fed Cup team. She is replacing Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, who resigned. The 1994 Wimbledon singles champion will lead the Spanish squad against Ukraine in their first round tie in World Group II from February 9-10 in Alicante.
A BACKHANDED GIFT, A Novel By “A Terrible Splendor” Author Marshall Jon Fisher
A BACKHANDED GIFT is a funny, moving literary work with tennis serving as the backdrop. The book tells the story of Robert Cherney, a 30-year-old aspiring writer, who has left New York City for a job teaching tennis in Munich in the late 1980s. Aside from private lessons, he coaches the Mattathias Club men’s league team, a motley group of neurotics whose eccentricities seem exacerbated by their situation as Jews living in Germany. They have made fortunes in postwar Germany but are hounded daily by the ghosts of the past and wracked with guilt over living so blithely among their parents’ tormentors. One of the players on Robert’s team is his best friend in Munich, Max Altmann, a successful and wealthy young businessman who is also Robert’s employer, landlord, provocateur, and guide to Munich’s nightlife. In addition to trying to figure out his life and not go crazy teaching tennis, Robert is trying to forget Lexa, the focus of years of erotic obsession back in New York. Helping him are Ingrid, a 40-ish Mattathias member and tennis pupil, and Veronique, a Jewish graduate student whom Max tries to set up with Robert. Love, tennis, sex, frustrated artistic ambition, and the dilemma of being a German Jew are all ingredients of this literary delight that is at times serious and comedic. A BACKHANDED GIFT is available now in paperback or as an e-book at Amazon (http://m1e.net/c?96018505-0KdaR93tggfbA%408405759-NrHwpOB8C.CCg and via other major outlets. Fisher’s most well-known previous work is the PEN award-winning “A Terrible Splendor: Three Extraordinary Men, A World Poised for War, and the Greatest Tennis Match Ever Played,” which was published to great acclaim in 2009. “Rich and rewarding,” wrote the Wall Street Journal of “A Terrible Splendror,” while the Washington Post called it “enthralling…a gripping tale.”