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Women tennis still has the best days like the other days
WTA-Chef Larry Scott looks into a rosy future

Interview: Barbara Klimke

Source in German : Berliner-zeitung
07 May 2003

Tennis, once a boom industry in Germany, is now in the crisis. The tournament with 1,2 million dollars endowed German Open of the women in Berlin fights about the survival. The US-American Larry Scott (38), earlier in the board of the men's tour ATP and since one month boss this pro player interior union WTA, nevertheless looks full of confidence into the future.

Mr. Scott, you said goodbye to the men's tennis and now reign over the women. Did you plunge into another world?

I hold the eyes open far. There always were connections between the men - and the women tour, we have common tournaments in the USA. But women tennis has his/its peculiarities.

Also with the acceptance through spectators and sponsors?

I need another couple of weeks in order to develop my marketing strategy. What interested me in the WTA-Posten, the fact is that women tennis is unique in certain aspects: The personalities are among the knownest athletes not only world-wide, they are also celebrities outside the sport.

For example who?

One names many players only with the first name: Venus, Serena, Anna, Jennifer, Amelie, Daniela, Justine. Ten years ago, this list was not yet so long. For women, tennis is the leading sport in the world. Nothing equals him/it: Neither women golf nor women football, women basketball or women athletics rich in the popularity and the image of women tennis along.

On the other hand it finally became a little boring because the same always win - either Serena or her sister Venus William.

So, I don't see this. Venus William lost exactly a finale against Amelie Mauresmo - even if because of injury. Serena was beaten by Justine Henin in Charleston a few weeks ago. I see indications that the competition grows. The quality of the game increases. Women tennis still has the best days before itself.

Momentarily however, the sport fights with considerable difficulties. Tournament directors complain about high costs and restrained sponsors. In Berlin, with one of your Renommierveranstaltungen, the television turns off.

The German Open are an our most important tournaments, they have a long tradition. I will come to Berlin this week in order to hear from first hand how the situation represents itself. Until now, I read only the reports. Marketing and television have high priority for me. We must increase reach and quotas with the television.

You therefore believe that you will find a solution?

Absolutely. The television situation can still be improved throughout the world.

How want you to employ this? In Berlin, one reckons already with it that this could be the last tournament.

I first must speak with the tournament director, but I think, for the long term, the marketing can be improved, the production quality and the product tennis even.

But also outside from Germany kriselt the business. The Masters-Turnier, that was forgiven to Los Angeles, took place in the previous year only before one few hundred observer at times.

Tennis still is very popular, but in Los Angeles, mistakes were done when marketing. We must get the tournament again smoothly. I spoke last week in Los Angeles with the promoters and am confident that the tournament in this year attracts a big public.

However, Zurzeit has a tour sponsor not even the WTA itself.

One didn't try finally any more finding a title sponsor. My predecessor, Kevin Wulff, was of the opinion that one should sell the title no more in order to hold the name purely. He wanted to find above all regional sponsors. At present, the WTA pursues the goal to invest in the own name as brand.

Do millions of dollars not go for you through it through the rags?

Not, if one has a good sale strategy and other good sponsors.

With the men's tour of ATP, you pursued the opposite strategy. At that time, you were jointly responsible for the signature of the billion contract with the Vermarkter ISL, the then bust went.

The ISL-Vertrag was closed not only with the ATP but with the nine tournaments of the master series. That was a great idea at that time. But one did mistakes and went bankruptcy. I learned that one cannot put all eggs into a basket. One must apportion the earnings. And: Tennis is no global market, we must look for partners on national level.

Experts predict that Asia will be the new market. Do you see the danger that tennis becomes insignificant in Europe?

I don't believe this. Europe still is the strongest tennis market, more strongly also as the USA. But the European market is apparently big fluctuations subservient in the different countries, ever after, like popular the players, the national heroes, is. In Germany, there was an unbelievable growth in the last ten years. Now, we see the opposite.

Premium Member
10,284 Posts
WTA popularity

I, for one, am glad that WTA remains popular in the USA. However, I am disturbed that it is not as popular as it should be. The reason for this as I see it, is that the WTA is not as readily available on network TV as it used to be.

I well remember when women's pro tennis was extremely popular back in the late 60's thru the late 70's. It seemed to me as if there was a women's pro tennis tournament every week on network tv. Today, much of women's sports coverage has gone into cable or satellite tv. When you consider the most popular women's sports such as pro golf or figure skating, you will note how often these are presented on network tv thereby making them accessible for the vast majority of the American populace. Since it appears that the all tennis cable channel will be limited in accessibility, I suggest that the WTA attempt to present much more women's pro tennis on the networks in order to re-popularize this great sport.

Your thoughts, please?

2,306 Posts
:eek: LOL.Well I don't know if I would consider the GAWWWWD awful LPGA one of the most popular sports and the same goes for figure skating the last I heard ratings for that sport had dropped,I'm not surprised with all the judging scandals.I do agree that any sport be it pro ,women's,mens whatever needs a half decent tv contract.Also,I think golf is much further ahead of tennis in terms of having a larger casual audience[watching and playing]maybe because of the coach potato mentality.Some of the people I'v seen golfing would probably drop dead if they tried tennis for an afternoon.
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