ATP Unveils New Tier of "500" Events For 2009 & $1 Billion Investment into ATP Tour
The ATP, governing body of the men's professional tennis circuit, announced today 10 cities that have been awarded "500" status for the new-look 2009 ATP Tour. The 10 are:
In addition, Hamburg has been reserved a "500" level week. Between them, the 10 announced today will make a financial commitment to the Tour of $20.7 million from 2009, an increase in prize money of 118% over 2008 for these events.
Offering 500 points for each champion, the "500" tournaments will create a global standard tier of premium tournaments and ensure a stronger broadcast and sponsor proposition from 2009. Designed to complement the nine "1000" events and World Tour Finals in London, the "500s" will be backed by a top player commitment to play four a year, including one "500" event post-US Open.
From 2009, the calendar changes to the ATP Tour will showcase the sport, ensure a healthier player schedule and offer a far more attractive proposition to broadcast and sponsor partners. The 2009 calendar will also ensure increased facility investment for men's tennis. Between them the "500" tournaments alone will bring over $200 million of facility investment into new stadia builds at Acapulco, Beijing and Valencia; as well as existing facility upgrades in Barcelona, Rotterdam, Dubai and Memphis. This follows the $600 million investment into upgrades and new facilities via the "1000" tournaments. With $200 million of committed marketing support, prize money and other investment, the "1000" and "500" tournaments will see $1 billion invested into men's tennis from 2009.
"The changes we are undertaking represent the biggest shake up of the ATP Tour since its inception but reflect a true appetite for the sport in emerging and key markets; as well as an expression of ambition and confidence in the future. In total more than $1 billion of added capital and increases in tournament 'on site financial' commitments will be made," said Etienne de Villiers, Executive Chairman of the ATP. "Our objective has been to provide a Tour structure that tells the best story of our global circuit. We need to have the best players playing in the best stadia, in the best markets at the right time. Our players, fans, tournaments and sponsors deserve a world class Tour and that is what we will be giving them in 2009."
World No. 1 Roger Federer welcomed the announcement: "This is fantastic news for the ATP Tour and I am delighted in particular that my hometown Basel has been awarded "500" status for 2009. The ATP is making some exciting changes to ensure the sport continues to grow on a global level."
The "1000" and "500" events will be strategically placed in the new calendar to ensure 'swings' of events leading into the sport's five 'pillars' - the four Grand Slams and the ATP World Tour Finals. In addition, post US Open, the calendar will be strengthened by an Asian swing of three weeks that will showcase the world's best players at new tournaments - "Shanghai 1000", and the Tokyo and Beijing "500's". This will be followed by an enhanced European indoor swing comprising of two new "500" events in Valencia and Basel as well as the Paris "1000". The swing, and season, will conclude at the new look ATP World Tour Finals in London's iconic O2 Arena.
"We are delighted that Tokyo has been awarded "500" status for 2009," said Tokyo Tournament Director Sanji Arisawa. "These are exciting times for the ATP Tour and particularly for men's tennis in Asia. An Asian swing of tournaments that will see the world's best players in some of the most spectacular venues is wonderful news for the millions of tennis fans in our region. This is a bold and exciting move by the ATP Tour and one that all the tournaments in our region fully support."
Tennis fans will be able to follow these 'swings' both live and on TV via new Premium Tour packages. Comprising of 20 premier events that will include "1000's", "500's" , the ATP World Tour Finals and other key regional events, the packages will offer a far more attractive proposition and will be sold by ATP Media to all major global broadcasters.
Launching in 2009, the ATP Tour will undergo its largest set of changes since its creation in 1990. As well as new tournaments and a record breaking level of prize money, the ATP will also introduce a new brand look and identity based on extensive consumer research and designed to make the Tour more fan friendly by linking tournaments to their winners ranking point levels of either "1000", "500" or "250".
The new look calendar, with its revised scheduling will be published in its entirety at the Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai.