Media package highlighted by streamlined Tour Calendar featuring premier events with more stars and rivals
IMG Media announced today that it has been appointed exclusive sales agent for Sony Ericsson WTA Tour television rights throughout the Asia Pacific region, Africa, the Middle East (excluding countries in the EBU zone) and Latin America.
The four year deal, beginning in 2008, covers all TV media rights (including satellite, cable and terrestrial), closed circuit, IN-flight and ship-at-sea. Under terms of the agreement, IMG Media will distribute all Tier I and Tier II tournaments along with the season ending Sony Ericsson Championships in 2008, and the Tour's 20 premier events plus the Sony Ericsson Championships in 2009 and 2010. The Tours streamlined and shortened season featuring these 20 premier events, record prize money of $84 million and more consistent delivery of stars than ever before, will be launched in 2009. The premier events will be anchored by four mandatory, combined men/women equal prize money tournaments the Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, the China Open in Beijing and a major event in Madrid, Spain.
Michael Mellor, Head of IMG Media, Asia Pacific, said: "We are extremely excited about working with the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. Their plans for the future of the game will make this a compelling property for broadcasters for years to come. IMG Media's impressive portfolio of tennis events in this region of the world means we are ideally placed to unlock the considerable potential the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour has to offer. We are already delighted with the response we have had with broadcasters with regard to the Tour, and expect to announce a number of key agreements very shortly."
"Women's tennis has never been a more powerful media property than today, and we are very pleased that IMG Media will be working with us in a number of key regions to grow our sport and expand our fan base, said Larry Scott, CEO of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. "Under our Roadmap plan, fans will be able to see their favourite stars and rivals more than ever, thanks to a streamlined calendar highlighted by 20 premier events."
Today's news follows on the heels of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour announcement in March of a significant expansion into China, including Beijing being awarded a major nine-day tournament in 2009. The tournament will be one of four premier events with equal prize money of at least $4 million that all top players will be required to enter and that will anchor the new streamlined 2009 calendar.
Last Month IMG Media was appointed by Tennis Australia to sell its Australian Open broadcast rights across Asia, adding to its already impressive stable which includes Wimbledon, the French Open and the ATPs Tennis Masters Series and Final.
IMG Media, the world's largest independent producer and distributor of sports programming, is the content and production and distribution arm of the world's leading sports, entertainment and media company IMG.
Source: IMG Media