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Pains and gains for 12th years old China Open

By Pu Yang Tuesday, 13 Oct 2015 19:27

Entering into its 12th year, the ATP-WTA China Open is well on the course of growth and promotion in the perspectives of branding and monetization. But yet the 2015 China Open was still faced up with challenges resulted from withdraws of superstars led by the likes Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova.

Since being promoted to a WTA Premier Mandatory event, China Open has worked out a frame to attract sponsors form various industries. For the event this year, China Open has achieved the objective to seal 12 main sponsorship deals for the first time ever with Beijing Benz being the exclusive main sponsor alongside 3 other diamond sponsors and 8 platinum sponsors. The record sponsorship fees altogether with ticketing and broadcast revenues have guaranteed at least RMB187 million for the event, according to various media reports.

“Stable sponsorships are the rock base for the development of sports event. But it does not necessarily mean the more sponsors, the better or more money the brands offer the better when selecting brands”, said He Huali, director of marketing and branding management at China Open.

“(It) has to be bonded with the presence of the event,” and sponsors of sports events need to find the balance between fees and rights, He continued.

Apart from the sponsorships, the 2015 China Open has done a remarkable job in attracting audience despite some key matches took place on working days.

“A large number of the audiences who came to the event this year were not die-hard supporters, but they showed up to enjoy their holiday, demonstrating sports are blending more into people’s daily lives”, He commented.

Under the background of emerging sports industry in China, the APT-WTA event is now seeing the potential of China’s growing sports business and uprising eagerness from the audience to consume in high-level sports events with participations from the likes of popular Rafael Nadal and Novac Djokovic.

The 2015 China Open, however, had some drawbacks when Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova withdraw due to injuries or Victoria Azarenka and Bouchard diminished in the early stages, making the squad, the women’s participant squad particularly, tend to be less impressive than ever.

Undoubtedly China Open alongside other Asian tournaments are both mentally and physically tough for some players as they have almost had an intense season and worry about the danger of picking up injuries.

Accordingly, how to avoid the risks of weakened star squad to guarantee success remains a problem for China Open and maybe other WTA tournaments to answer.



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