LONDON, United Kingdom - The TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships - the 41st edition of the WTA's season-ending event which took place at the Sinan Erdem Arena in Istanbul, Turkey from October 25-30 - registered the highest attendance in 12 years and set record broadcast and digital audience milestones for the tournament.
"The TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships was an historic event in a new market, and having a full stadium of enthusiastic fans supporting our players at the WTA's crown-jewel finale has demonstrated the global reach and strength of women's tennis," said Stacey Allaster, Chairman and CEO of the WTA. "Sold-out attendance is also a testament to the Ministry of Sport and Turkish Tennis Federation's efforts in executing, promoting and organizing this great event."
Total Championships attendance reached 70,824, with the average session visited by 11,804 fans. The Sunday finals (October 30, 2011) won by Petra Kvitova and the doubles team of Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond were watched by 13,676 fans.
The TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships broadcast more than 400 hours of live coverage in 164 countries through 22 international TV broadcasters, the widest reach of a WTA Championships to date. Among the broadcast highlights, the WTA's longstanding partner Eurosport once again telecast the Championships across its pan-European footprint. The previous high came last year at the WTA Championships in Doha, Qatar through coverage by 19 international broadcasters in 162 countries.
Additionally, Eurosport.com and ESPN3.com, among many others, offered live streaming web broadcast of all matches, and TennisTV.com brought fans not only matches but daily highlights, shot of the day, player interviews and additional features.
"To see people out there watching my match, so enthusiastic, while you never quite know what to expect when you come to a new city for the first time….I think the attention that the tournament has gotten and the respect that the players have received has been really incredible," said Maria Sharapova.
Sharapova added: "This is one of the biggest tournaments for us, and for it to be brought to Istanbul in one of the fastest-growing cities in the world is a big achievement, not just for us as tennis players but for the country itself, for the young girls and boys that are growing up that have watched the sport on TV that haven't had the opportunity to watch this type of tennis."
"I think these Championships was a good opportunity for us to grow tennis, not only in Turkey but all over the world. The crowd was amazing and they showed us great support," said Victoria Azarenka.
Raymond commented: "The crowds have been phenomenal. I have never played a doubles match in front of that many people, even at a Slam. They love their tennis here. They're proving that and that's a very important aspect of when you put year-end Championships on. This was definitely the highlight for me."
The WTA's official website offered fans daily highlight videos, player features, scores and photos and registered record traffic during the Championships. Unique visits and page views were up by 67% and 56%, respectfully, over last year's Championships results. The number of daily visits peaked on Friday, October 28, 2011 - the highest since September 2010.
Next year's TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships will take place in Istanbul on October 23-28, 2012.