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Tennis: WTA Finals in Singapore attracts biggest crowds since 2000

Singapore Indoor Stadium was sold out for four of 11 sessions and close to capacity on the other days, as the WTA Finals attracted its biggest crowds since 2000. Photo: Paul Lakatos / WSG.

Singapore Indoor Stadium was sold out for four of 11 sessions and close to capacity on the other days, as the WTA Finals attracted its biggest crowds since 2000. Photo: Paul Lakatos / WSG.

October 31, 2014: The recent BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore – which was held from October 17-26 – set new milestones for attendance, TV viewing and online audiences, the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) has announced.

 

The 44th edition of the event added new features including a Fan Festival held around the Sports Hub as well as events throughout the city, the WTA Legends Classic, WTA Rising Stars Invitational and WTA Future Stars events for U-16 and U-14 players.

 

With a record US$6.5 million prize money on offer, the event attracted more than 129,000 fans to the Singapore Sports Hub during the 10 days, with more than 93,000 attending the main matches at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. Four of the 11 sessions were sold out, with all sessions being near-capacity, and the attendance mark was the highest since 2000 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

 

Last Sunday’s finals drew a sell-out crowd of 9,986 fans as Serena Williams defeated Simona Halep to hoist the singles Billie Jean King Trophy and Sania Mirza and Cara Black defeated Peng Shuai and Hsieh Su-wei to take home the new Martina Navratilova Doubles Trophy.

 

Milestones included a record TV broadcast footprint of 177 countries, 63 broadcasters and more than 4,500 hours of coverage. The number of media from around the world in attendance at the event tripled in comparison with last year.

 

Throughout the 10-day event coverage, across wtatennis.com, WTAFinals.com and mobile sites, there was a 127.6 per cent increase in page impressions, including a 266.7 per cent growth on WTAFinals.com. Mobile page views more than doubled from the previous year, with an increase of 182.4 per cent page views.

 

The WTA Finals set new records across web and social media, engaging more than 60 million fans online over the entire tournament. Facebook reach during the event was 26 million.

 

Hashtag #WTAFinals and related terms were mentioned more than 300,000 times on social media and featured on the SAP Social Media Wall on-site as a part of the interactive Fan Zone. Meanwhile, the official WTA Finals app, powered by SAP, was downloaded 22,000 times in just 14 days since it was launched on October 14.

 

In 2014, the WTA delivered exclusive behind-the-scenes content across all platforms, including multiple broadcasts of WTA Live. Fans around the world were able to watch the singles and doubles draw ceremonies live on WTAFinals.com as well as interact with players via WTA Live All Access Hour presented by Xerox.

 

For the first time at the WTA Finals, Twitter Mirror was used on court to collect player signatures and images for fans worldwide.

 

The season-long ‘Road to Singapore’ promotion campaign included branding, a Road to Singapore Leaderboard, PR, editorial and advertising. The campaign featured innovations such as an online poll for fans to choose their favourite player to compete at the WTA Rising Stars Invitational, which generated almost 700,000 votes.

 

Stacey Allaster, Chairman and CEO of the WTA, said: “The BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global has been transformed into the most fan-friendly sport-entertainment spectacle in the illustrious history of our sport’s season-ending finale.

 

“In our historic first year of the WTA Finals in Asia-Pacific and Singapore, our players once again showcased through their athleticism and competitive spirit to win and demonstrated match after match why women’s tennis is the world’s leading professional sport for women.

 

“The mission to integrate our Legends and Rising Stars into the event, expand the format to showcase doubles even more and bring the tennis environment closer to the fans through greater accessibility than ever before is a fantastic start in this first of five years in Singapore.”

 

Andrew Georgiou, CEO of World Sport Group, the event promoter, said: “We are thrilled by the phenomenal success of the inaugural BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global.

 

“Singaporeans and fans from abroad have really embraced the WTA Finals, showing up in full force over the 10-day festival to watch some of the best tennis in 2014. Before the event started, we set ourselves the goal to have over 100,000 fans attend the various activities throughout and we are delighted that we have well and truly exceeded that target.”

 

“In addition to the amazing atmosphere created by the fans, the feedback from our corporate partners, media and the entire tennis community has been extraordinary. There is little doubt that this event is now a must-attend event on the Singapore calendar.”

 

This year’s event was the first of five years in which Singapore will host the WTA Finals. The 2015 edition is scheduled to take place October 23-November 1.

 

At a Glance: Top 15 Statistics

  • 475,000,684 homes reached by TV globally
  • 26,000,000 reach on Facebook from October 14-26
  • 13,200,000 page views across wtatennis.com, wtafinals.com web and mobile sites during the WTA Finals
  • 11,500,000 impressions on Twitter for entire tournament
  • US$6,500,000 prize money on offer in 2014
  • 700,000 votes were tallied by fans globally to send their favorite WTA Rising Star players to Singapore this year
  • 129,000 spectators and 93,000 fans flocked to the Singapore Sports Hub to enjoy 10 days on- and off-court sport and entertainment in the stadium, as well as in the fan zone which offered free access to the public.
  • 100,000+ mentions on social media for hashtag #WTAFinals
  • 22,000 downloads in 2 weeks since the official WTA Finals App powered by SAP was launched on October 14
  • More than 310 media attended
  • 127.6% increase in online audiences across the entire WTA digital platform wtatennis.com, wtafinals.com, mobile compared to 2013
  • 182.4% increase in mobile traffic to wtafinals.com compared to 2013
  • 21 official sponsor and supplier partners for WTA Finals
  • 8 different countries represented by Top 8 players of the 54 WTA events season-long

22 years – Serena Williams completed a three-peat as WTA Finals singles champion; the last time that happened was 22 years ago when Monica Seles won three-straight from 1990-92

 

Source: WTA (www.wtatennis.com); Editing by SportAsia

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