WTA Finals: prize money, sponsors, attendance and more
At the WTA Finals the year’s best eight singles players and best eight doubles teams face off. The prestigious season-ending tournament is a spectacle on and off court. With a fan village, a coaches conference, numerous sponsors and a large prize money purse, the glamorous event keeps generating more and more excitement and exposure.
Below we take a look at a few of the business aspects of the WTA Finals, from location to prize money and from attendance to sponsorships.
Where does the WTA Finals take place?
The 2019 WTA Finals takes place in Shenzhen, China from October 27th until November 3rd. It will be the first of ten editions – from 2019 through 2028 – to take place in the Chinese city. In January 2018 the city was awarded the WTA Finals after real estate developer Gemdale Corporation submitted the winning bid that included the construction of a new venue with a capacity of 12,000.
This means the pinnacle of the WTA calendar will remain in Asia, after a five-year spell in Singapore. The Women’s Tennis Association deliberately chose to hold the event on the continent back in 2014, because it wanted to grow the women’s game in the area. Add that to the many other new tournaments in the region and with Li Na’s successes back then and current successes for other Asian players, like Naomi Osaka, this will hopefully raise tennis’ profile in the region even further.
Other activities during WTA Finals
Apart from the singles and doubles matches, a lot more activities take place during the WTA Finals:
- Official draw ceremonies
- Fan village – player appearances, autograph sessions, activities, merchandise and more
- Tennis coaches conference
- Player practice sessions
- Fan activities away from the stadium
- Future Stars Tournament
Prize money WTA Finals
The 2019 WTA Finals has a prize money purse of $14 million. A significant increase compared to the first edition in 1972, when a total of $100,000 was awarded to the players. By 2001 prize money had increased to $3 million and it has kept rising. With the relocation of the 2019 WTA Finals to China, prize money has even doubled compared to the $7 million that was awarded at the 2018 WTA Finals in Singapore.
Attendance WTA Finals
Attendance – as defined by the WTA – increased after the WTA Finals moved to Singapore. Not surprising despite a lower capacity stadium, because the event started to take place over more days.
And attendance figures could well rise even further in the coming years, with the new Shenzhen venue having a higher capacity (12,000) than the Singapore Sports Hub (10,000).
Sponsors players WTA Finals
With the event getting a lot of digital and media exposure, it is interesting to see which apparel and racket brands will profit from that. So which brands sponsor this year’s best singles players? And do the players have other company logos on their clothing as well?
Note: Kiki Bertens (Fila, Wilson, Peugeot) took Osaka’s place from the second round robin match after the Japanese pulled out with a shoulder injury.
|Player||Clothing||Racket||Other brands on clothing|
|Ashleigh Barty||Fila||Head||Rado & Jaguar|
|Karolina Pliskova||Fila||Babolat||Ivar cs & .Czech Fund|
|Naomi Osaka||Nike||Yonex||Nissin, Ana & Mastercard|
Sponsors WTA Finals
The website of the 2019 WTA Finals, officially the Shiseido WTA Finals, lists a total of 25 partners. That is six less than the 2018 edition in Singapore had.
Shiseido is the title partner, taking over from BNP Paribas. Gemdale and Kaisa are diamond sponsors, while Porsche is a prestige sponsor.
The event also has 15 official sponsors, four media partners and two ticketing partners.
From the 25 partners, 15 have their origin in China. A total of 17 companies are from Asia, 5 from Europe and 3 from the USA.
When comparing the partners of the WTA Finals with the ATP Finals it is noticeable that the WTA event has far more partners (25 versus 11 in 2019), while far less brands sponsoring both the tour and the Finals (two versus eight in 2019). The WTA Finals does have more local and regional partners.
|Hampton by Hilton||Hospitality||USA|
|Liri Tent Technology||Tent technology||China|
|Unilumin Sports||LED technology||China|
|iQiyi||Video on demand||China|
|Shenzhen Media Group||Media||China|
WTA Finals on balance
With the move to Singapore in 2014 the WTA Finals seems to have increased in size and appeal. The organisation has secured plenty of partners, including many from the region. So it is clear that there is potential in the Asian market. It will be interesting to see whether Shenzhen can capitalise on that potential in the next 10 years.
However, fixing a venue for a ten-year period is risky. It is beneficial for the organisation and might have resulted in a better bid, but it could stagnate growth and local excitement might be gone after the first few years. And with so many players coming from Europe, it begs the question whether having the event in Asia for such a long time will not come at the cost of missing out on income the event could have generated in Europe. Or even in another market.