The financial meltdown is just beginning to hit professional tennis. The ATP just announced millions it will return to tournaments after failing to replace title sponsor Mercedes-Benz. The WTA Tour says it is holding its own, but don’t look for its upward prize money trend to continue. U.S.-based tournaments are reporting less fan turn-out and profits.
China, which by the way owns much of the U.S. debt, isn’t that concerned, especially China’s pro tennis ventures.
If you’ve never heard of Sina.com, join the club, but the internet portal is apparently swimming in cash as it just announced a 100 million yuan ($14.63 million) investment in the 2009 China Open tennis tournament, according to the China Daily newspaper.
The sponsorship deal of the joint WTA/ATP event helps the event boost the total prize money from $108 million yuan last year to $660 million this year, according to China Daily. Probably not many pros will be missing this year’s event.
China has been successfully wooing pro tennis for the last five years, with the ATP moving their year-end Masters Cup to Beijing, among other ATP/WTA events already in China.
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