WTA Tour commences push to expand coverage

SAN FRANCISCO: The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour is embarking on a global campaign to broaden coverage of its tour and players to include more lifestyle and business media.

SAN FRANCISCO: The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour is embarking on a global campaign to broaden coverage of its tour and players to include more lifestyle and business media.

It enlisted Fleishman-Hillard to amplify its coverage outside the sports media. The effort will focus on conveying the tour's business success through its executives and off-the-court stories of its athletes, in addition to generating consumer and lifestyle coverage, said Andrew Walker, VP of global marketing and communications at the tour.

“We have a good story to tell,” he added. “The growth of the tour has been successful from a business perspective and our players are lifestyle ambassadors.”

Last year, the tour launched its largest-ever marketing campaign, “Looking for a Hero.” It worked with Cohn & Wolfe on that initiative, but in January it hired Fleishman. It plans to continue to leverage the campaign, but it will also place a stronger emphasis on earned media.

“We're in the midst of a global economic crisis... but we need to let people know why they should watch the WTA and why sponsors should invest in it,” Walker said.

Upcoming WTA events include the Billie Jean King Cup at New York's Madison Square Garden on March 2. It will feature Venus and Serena Williams, Jelena Jankovic, and Ana Ivanovic. Following the event, the players will engage with lifestyle media outlets and hold a lunch in conjunction with the Luxury Marketing Council.

“[We hope] to create momentum for the opening of the US spring tennis season and to favorably position the tour and [its] top players with long-lead and agenda-setting media well in advance of Wimbledon and the US Open,” added J.J. Carter, partner and co-chair for Fleishman's global sports practice.

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