-- Record prize money of $14 million awarded at season-ending event
-- New spectacular state-of-the art stadium to be built
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., Jan. 18, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The Women's Tennis Association (WTA) announced today its selection of the city of Shenzhen, China to host the WTA Finals, the most prestigious event on the WTA calendar, from 2019 through 2028.
Gemdale Corporation, one of China's largest and leading real estate developers, submitted the winning bid. The company's bid includes building a state-of-the-art venue in the city's downtown area, with seating for 12,000 people, and record prize money of $14 million for the Top 8 singles players and Top 8 doubles teams, double the previous purse.
"It gives me great pleasure to announce that the dynamic city of Shenzhen has been chosen to host the WTA Finals for the next decade," said Steve Simon, WTA CEO and Chairman. "This will easily be the largest and most significant WTA Finals deal in the 45 years since the WTA was founded and promises to take the event to a spectacular new level."
"Shenzhen is honored to have been selected as host for the WTA Finals," said Liu Fengning, General Manager, Shenzhen Gemdale Sports Industry Co., Ltd. "This world class event will attract local and foreign tennis fans and add to Shenzhen's reputation as an outward-looking and vibrant global city. We embrace the WTA's values of inclusiveness and equality, and are grateful for the opportunity to add to China's tennis legacy by staging an event that encourages young generations to take up the sport."
Billie Jean King, pioneer and founder of the WTA, remarked, "It is absolutely incredible to witness the growth of the WTA season-ending event and Shenzhen will be a fantastic home for the WTA Finals. The first Finals were played in 1972, in Boca Raton, Florida, before the WTA was formed, and had $100,000 in total prize money. The record setting $14 million purse set for Shenzhen reflects the global strength of our sport and how Shenzhen and China have embraced women's tennis."
Sam Stosur, WTA Player Council member commented, "I am impressed by the sheer magnitude of Shenzhen's offer. The increased prize money and the construction of a new stadium with naming rights is incredible. But significantly, the financial backing and government commitment is an exceptional investment in the WTA that will help to develop women's tennis in all corners of the world for years. It's an exciting day and time for me and all our WTA players."
2019 will mark the 49th staging and Shenzhen is the 10th different city to host the WTA Finals.
SOURCE WTA Tour, Inc.