WTA leader sees more growth via TV, fan input

Thu Mar 26, 2015 12:55pm EDT
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

(Reuters) - With gender equality achieved and a host of new sponsors brought in, WTA chairman and CEO Stacey Allaster has set her sights on further growth of the tour via a landmark television deal and by enhancing the fan experience.

Allaster, who took over as the tour's leader from Larry Scott in 2009, believes the sky is the limit for the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) because of its global reach and a plethora of top players from different countries.

"We have a terrific opportunity in this global world," Allaster, who has been named by Forbes magazine as one of the "Most Powerful Women in Sports", told Reuters.

"When we go in and make (business) pitches, we are on every continent with 55 events in 33 countries, 92 different nations represented.

"When you've got a strategic market around the globe, it's pretty easy for us to piece together either an event or an athlete to create local activation strategies for commercial partners."

Allaster, whose tour includes more than 2,500 players competing for in excess of $120 million in prize money, is especially excited about the WTA's television deal with Perform, starting in 2017.

"It's a 10-year deal worth a minimum of $525 million and it will be the game-changer moment for us because it is all about giving women's tennis more exposure," said the dynamic 51-year-old Canadian.

"We only have one-third of our matches (televised) today but in 2017 we will do all 2,000 of them across multiple platforms in multiple forms, short-form as well for the younger consumer who might only want two or three-minute highlights of matches.   Continued...

Stacey Allaster (R), Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Women's Tennis Association (WTA), gestures next to World Sports Group's Chief Operating Officer Andrew Georgiou as they prepare to pose with the Billie Jean King trophy after a WTA announcement in Singapore May 8, 2013. REUTERS/Edgar Su