Lack of title sponsors results in end of 21-year-old WTA event

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Connecticut Open comes to a close after 21 years as the organisers have failed to find a title sponsor to the WTA Tour event.

Since the commercial model was not viable without the title sponsorship revenue, tournament hosts The Tennis Foundation of Connecticut have sold their sanction on the WTA calendar to Chinese sports and entertainment company APG.

Following the TFC and APG deal, the tournament will figure on the WTA tour as a September 9 to 15 event in Zhengzhou City, China. The event was a regular annual feature at New Haven for more than two  decades.

The Connecticut Open has been among the top three most-attended WTA tournaments in 2018. It had generated more than $10m (€8.7m) annually in economic impact for New Haven and Connecticut.

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The Tennis Foundation of Connecticut Board is examining whether another Premier WTA or professional tennis event can be drawn to New Haven.

“It has been an amazing 21-year run for women’s professional tennis in New Haven and we are truly grateful to all the fans, volunteers, players, media and sponsors involved,” said Anne Worcester, tournament director.

“It’s emotional and very bittersweet, but the financial picture was crystal clear,” added Anne. the former CEO of the WTA who took over the tournament in 1998.

“It’s been an emotional and challenging five months since the tournament,” Worcester said. “Actually, it’s been emotional and challenging for the last two years. We needed a title sponsor for 2018. We had to get creative to put on the 2018 tournament. We knew we had to find a title sponsor in those first few months or we’d have to sell.

“We talked to 88 companies in four months. We were unable to secure the title sponsor. The financial model doesn’t work without a title sponsor.”

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