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tennisIlove09
Oct 20th, 2004, 08:32 PM
WTA Tour Signs First Chinese Commercial Deal
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By Tennis Week
10/20/2004

The WTA Tour will enjoy increased Eastern exposure in the coming years. The TOM Group — the leading media group in Greater China with diversified interests in Internet, sports, publishing and television — has signed a five-year agreement with the WTA that gives it exclusive Tour regional broadcast and Internet rights in China.


The contract gives the TOM Group the rights to use the Tour logo and player names and likenesses in Tour-related promotions. The next Tier I tournament in Asia is the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo in January, 2005 and the next Tier II tournament is the China Open in Beijing in September 2005. Serena Williams defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova to win last month's China Open.

As part of the broadcast package, TOM Group acquired exclusive television rights in China for the Tour's first 26 Tier I and Tier II tournaments and the season-ending WTA Tour Championships presented by Porsche. In addition, TOM Group has exclusive television rights in China for the WTA Tour's magazine-style show, "Real Life on the WTA Tour."

"This partnership is a milestone in the Tour's long-term commitment to developing our relationships in China and to enhancing the presence of women's professional tennis in this region," WTA Tour CEO Larry Scott said. "The WTA Tour continues to seek premium partners, and this collaboration with TOM group will create compelling opportunities for tennis fans throughout China to get closer than ever to their favorite players and to experience the sport like never before."

The deal comes at a time when tennis' presence is expanding in China. Several Chinese pros have enjoyed success this season, including Jie Zheng, who became the first Chinese player to advance to the fourth round of a Grand Slam tournament at Roland Garros and Tian Tian Sun and Ting Li, who claimed the gold medal in doubles at the Athens Olympic Games