ST. PETERSBURG, FL, USA - The WTA announced Wednesday the start of the international tender process to identify the host city of the season-ending WTA Championships for 2014 and beyond.
The WTA Championships features the world's Top 8 singles players and Top 4 doubles teams competing for one of the most coveted titles in women's tennis and a share of almost $5 million in prize money.
"The WTA Championships has gone from strength to strength over the past four decades, and is today recognized as one of a handful of truly blue chip international events on the world sporting calendar," said WTA Chairman & CEO Stacey Allaster. "Based on the significant demand by numerous cities around the world to invest in women's tennis and host our year-end WTA Championships, we decided to launch an international bidding process to select a host city for 2014 and beyond. It's a chance for some city somewhere to step up on the world stage. We are confident that through this process we will be able to identify the right city to become the next partner for the world's premier sporting event for women."
"A trip to the WTA Championships, and the right to battle for such a prestigious title and possibly the World No.1 ranking, is the goal of every single player," said World No.2 and 2004 WTA Championships winner Maria Sharapova. "Having only the best of the best together always makes for an incredibly exciting finale to each WTA season. And having the chance to bring our best event to new cities is always exciting for the players and fans."
The event, which launched in 1972, has been held in Boca Raton, Los Angeles, New York City, Oakland, Munich, Madrid, Doha and its current home of Istanbul. Its champions have included eight-time winner Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert, Steffi Graf, Monica Seles, Martina Hingis, Lindsay Davenport, Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters.
The 2011 WTA Championships - held in Istanbul for the first of three years - was sponsored by BNP Paribas and its Turkish partner Türk Ekonomi Bankasý (TEB), as well as Rolex, Turkish Airlines, Sony Xperia, Oriflame and others. It registered the highest WTA Championships attendance in 12 years and set broadcast and digital audience records. It 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.
The WTA chose the London-based international sports marketing agency, The Sports Consultancy, to manage the bid process, which will commence with requests for expression of interest sent to prospective host cities that are required to respond by June 29, 2012. Interested parties will receive a bid guide, formal bid application and questionnaire that must be submitted by September 21, 2012. A short list of potential candidate cities will be announced in October 2012, with a final decision made in March 2013.
Parties interested in submitting an expression of interest should contact The Sports Consultancy at email@example.com.