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tennisIlove09
Feb 2nd, 2007, 11:52 PM
HASTINGS DIRECT QUITS AS LADIES' TENNIS SPONSOR
INSURANCE company Hastings Direct has ended its four-year sponsorship of Eastbourne's prestigious international ladies' tennis tournament.
The Lawn Tennis Association has given an assurance that the event will go ahead this year with or without a major sponsor.

Hastings Direct has underpinned the tournament with annual sponsorship of £350,000 helping bring greats such as Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin-Hardenne to Devonshire Park each June.

The Lawn Tennis Association has vowed this year's event will go ahead regardless but the news has left a question mark over the tournament's longer term future in the town, with rumours that it could be moved to London.

The chief executive of the Lawn Tennis Association, Roger Draper, is believed to favour centering pre-Wimbledon tournaments on London.

However, the LTA has a long term commitment to the Devonshire Park International tennis centre, in which it is a major investor.

And Matt Edwards, Sussex tennis manager for the Lawn Tennis Association, said, "I think it would be crazy to move the tournament away from Eastbourne. The last few years has seen the very top players in Eastbourne and I see no reason to change that."

"The Hastings Direct sponsorship was due to terminate and we are now actively seeking a new sponsor.

"I certainly have not heard anything about combining the tournament with the Stella (Artois at Queens Club London).

"The players like being away from the pressures of London before Wimbledon."

LTA press officer Rhian Evans said, "The event is not dependent on a new sponsor and it will go ahead regardless of whether one is secured. Negotiations are continuing but before one is finalised we want to make sure that any commitment is in the best interest of the sponsor and ourselves."

Insurance Australia Group (IAG) took over Hastings Direct in October, when bosses promised no job losses and no change to community support.

Clare Day, marketing manager at the Bexhill-based company, said supporting the event cost the company around £500,000 a year when advertising and promotional material was included.

"We have supported the event for four years. It took up a tremendous amount of our resources, it's not just about money.

"It takes up a lot of our time internally because when we support something we don't just play with it, we put all our corporate efforts behind it.

"We want to look at other opportunities for sponsorship in the local area."

Road safety campaigns and support for community events are on the cards.

Tournament Director Gavin Fletcher was not available for comment yesterday before the Herald went to press.

!<blocparty>!
Feb 3rd, 2007, 12:04 AM
Moving it to London is a really stupid idea. As if it doesn't have enough 'major' sporting events.

I hope they find a sponsor soon. Devonshire Park is a great venue and I love going there (even though Eastbourne isn't really for the younger guy ;)).

mboyle
Feb 3rd, 2007, 02:24 AM
Moving it to London is a really stupid idea. As if it doesn't have enough 'major' sporting events.

I hope they find a sponsor soon. Devonshire Park is a great venue and I love going there (even though Eastbourne isn't really for the younger guy ;)).

You have to go where the money is. London has one of the biggest corporate markets in the world. No one can get tix to Wimbledon, so there would definitely be a demand...

Caz
Feb 3rd, 2007, 07:25 PM
I'm not sure there would be a huge demand in London, esp. if it stayed the same week as Queens, unless, of course, they did combine the two events and sold combined tickets, so that the same ticket you bought to see the men play, would get you in to see the women play as well. Mens tennis is more popular, so if people in London had a choice between one or the other, during the same week, my guess is that, they would more than likely continue to support the mens event and leave the womens as a poor second, esp. since there's way more chance of a British man doing well than a British women! lol!

Whatever, I hope they don't do it. It would be sooo much cheaper for me to attend if it were moved to London, but I love my weeks holiday to the South Coast to watch the tennis. I don't want anything to ruin that. They've had so many different sponsors over the years though, let' hope they can find another one and keep the tournament where it is.

TheBoiledEgg
Feb 3rd, 2007, 08:25 PM
LTA should cough up more $$ and get some more tourns esp ITF's in UK rather than what they've been doing in past few yrs.

30M surplus each yr and not one player good enough to play anywhere.

Haggis and Chicken Boy dont count.

Mina Vagante
Feb 3rd, 2007, 08:27 PM
i would LOVE for it to come to London , it's closer :p

LDF
Feb 3rd, 2007, 08:30 PM
I hope they find a sponsor soon. Devonshire Park is a great venue and I love going there (even though Eastbourne isn't really for the younger guy ;)).

That's for sure! :lol:

It'd be a shame to see this event move; as Matt Edwards said, it's good to have a high-quality grass court warm-up event away from London :shrug:

Europe rocks
Feb 3rd, 2007, 09:44 PM
I hope that they find a new sponsor soon and keep it in Eastbourne. The gulls, the wind, Martina Navratilova - it's all part of the tradition.

I agree with Eggy saying the UK needs more ITF events. Especially at 50 and 75K level :o

Lapin
Feb 3rd, 2007, 09:50 PM
:sad: I hope they can find a new sponser and keep the event in Eastbourne. London's a lot closer than Eastbourne for me too, but I prefer the tournament at Eastbourne; I go to London for Wimbledon! :p As caz said, a trip to the south coast in June is nice....

Ben.
Feb 3rd, 2007, 09:56 PM
I would rather the tournament to stay in Eastbourne than go over to London. A lot of the players enjoy coming to Eastbourne & it's quite unique to play near the seaside with ocean breezes coming through. Be a tad boring if the event was held in London.

!<blocparty>!
Feb 3rd, 2007, 10:34 PM
You have to go where the money is. London has one of the biggest corporate markets in the world. No one can get tix to Wimbledon, so there would definitely be a demand...

Wimbledon is WIMBLEDON. Not a WTA Tier II event. There is a demand for tickets in Eastbourne - the event has pretty good attendance as far as I know. Like people have pointed out before: it's changed sponsors many times in the past so hopefully a new one will come along soon.

Gerri
Feb 3rd, 2007, 11:03 PM
:sad: I hope they can find a new sponser and keep the event in Eastbourne. London's a lot closer than Eastbourne for me too, but I prefer the tournament at Eastbourne; I go to London for Wimbledon! :p As caz said, a trip to the south coast in June is nice....

Agree. Anyway it wouldn't be the same without the gales and the seagulls :lol: I'd hate it to be combined with the Stella, so many society twits go and never know what's going on. Eastbourne's so nice and relaxed.