The Acura Classic, a tennis fixture in San Diego since 1984, has sold its Tier I designation back to the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour and will more than likely see its last year of play in 2007, ******************** has learned.
Co-owners Raquel Giscafre and Jane Stratton had put the well-attended tournament at the La Costa Resort for sale and were apparently unable to find buyers. The tournament would have been forced to leave La Costa after 2007 anyway as the resort owners no longer desired to have the event there.
Giscafre and Stratton briefly looked into getting financing for a new stadium in San Diego, but we unsuccessful.
The WTA, which is reconfiguring its calendar for 2010, stepped in and bought the Tier I designation and will likely sell it to Cincinnati, which is looking to host a combined men’s and women’s tournament the same week that the women’s Canadian Open is now played.
The tour is looking to establish three “A-level” tournaments during the US Open Series, one that is almost sure to be Montreal, another that could be Cincinnati and another that could be Los Angeles or Stanford. The tour will opening up bidding on this new “A” designation, where the tournaments will be asked to provide at least $ 1 million in prize money in exchange for an increased player commitment from the tour’s stars. Currently, the Tier II tournaments at Stanford and Los Angeles offer around $600,000 in prize money.
At this point, any tournament that does not receive an "A" designation will be dropped to a “B” level, where they will only have to offer around $225,000 in prize money, but not be guaranteed any Top-10 players.
However, negotiations on the topics between the tour, the Slams, the ITF and the tournaments are still ongoing.
This means the end of Tier I, Tier II, Tier III and Tier IV system as we know it
The WTA is copying ATP AGAIN and is attempting to create a "Masters Series" consisting of only "A" level events with prize money of 1 million or more. Then all other Tier II will be dropped to Tier III level with prize money of at most $225,000
so basically top players will (be required to) play at all the Tier A levels and then nobody will play the tournaments with prize money of $225,000