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 2018 WTA Finals takes place in Singapore from October 21st until 28th (fan activities start two days earlier). The city became the first Asian city to host the important tournament in 2014 after taking over from Istanbul. However, this year’s edition will be the last to take place in Singapore’s Sports Hub [Watch a documentary about the WTA Finals in Singapore].
From 2019 through 2028 the WTA season’s final will take place in Shenzhen, China. 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. 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
- Jason Mraz Concert
- WAY Live – hours of classic hits and pop jazz
- Advantage Singapore – program to cultivate a tennis legacy in Singapore
- Racquet Club – the official hospitality program
- Courtside by the Bay – fan activities away from the stadium
- Future Stars Tournament
Prize money WTA Finals
The 2018 WTA Finals has a prize money purse of $7 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 will increase once again. In fact the total prize money purse is set to double to $14 million.
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: Simona Halep had to withdraw due to injury. Kiki Bertens took her place.
|Player||Clothing||Racket||Other brands on clothing|
|Angelique Kerber||Adidas||Yonex||Porsche & Generali|
|Karolina Pliskova||Fila||Babolat||Mercur & Pražská plynárenská|
|Kiki Bertens||Mizuno||Wilson||Fox Sports|
Sponsors WTA Finals
The website of the WTA Finals, officially the BNP Paribas WTA Finals presented by SC Global Developments, lists a total of 31 partners. BNP Paribas is the title partner, SC Global Developments the presenting partner and Marine Bay Sands a premier partner. The event also has 13 official sponsors and 15 official supporters.
From the many partners only Porsche, SAP and Peak also sponsor the WTA. German automotive brand Porsche’s name is coupled to the yearlong competition format, which is called the “Porsche Race to Singapore”. SAP provides on and off court data analysis, while Peak is a Regional Premier Partner of the WTA Tour.
From the 31 partners, 17 have their origin in Asia, 7 in Europe, 2 in Australia and 5 in the USA.
|BNP Paribas||Financial services||France|
|SC Global Developments||Real estate||Singapore|
|Marina Bay Sands Singapore||Tourism||Singapore|
|Changi Airport Group||Airport||Singapore|
|Kingsmen||Communication design & production||Singapore|
|OCBC Bank||Financial services||Vietnam|
|Tiffany & Co||Retail, Jewellery||USA|
|100 Plus||Isotonic sports drinks (beverages)||Malaysia|
|Aggreko||Temporary power generator||UK|
|Fitness First||Health clubs||UK|
|Ice Mountain||Water (beverages)||USA|
|Diva and E (NBCUniversal)||Media||USA|
|TWG Tea||Tea (beverages)||Singapore|
|Wolf Blass||Wine (beverages)||Australia|
WTA Finals on balance
With the move to Singapore the WTA Finals seems to have increased in size and appeal. The organisation has secured plenty of partners and many of them are 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.