London’s O2 Arena will hold onto its hosting rights for the ATP World Tour Finals for another two years, following an extension that will take them through to 2015. The final event marks the finish of the lengthy tennis season, bringing the top 8 men onto one court in what is the world’s biggest indoor tennis event.
Retaining hosting rights was not a given, despite huge success for the parties involved. In its 42 year history, the event has typically roamed the globe camping at some of the top cities from New York to Sydney and since landing on British soil, the event’s success has spurned a flurry of cities to put their hand up for future hosting rights. London took the reins from Shanghai in 2009 and has maintained crowds of over 250,000 every year since, a figure that tournament director Chris Kermode says “for a one- court tennis event is quite extraordinary”.
Londoners should be pretty excited about this. BBC are holding onto the broadcasting rights making it more than accessible for British viewers while Barclays are on board to continue its title sponsorship of the event and agreement extensions with The All England Lawn Tennis Club and the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) have all been made to 2015.
…the O2 let through their one millionth fan this week…
The ATP figures have soared over the last season from record attendances – the O2 let through their one millionth fan this week- to increasing television and online viewership with over 100 million people worldwide tuning into the event at home and a further 3.8million streaming the event online.
And it’s not just the ATP seeing the benefits of the sports growing popularity. Out of the glare of the centre-court floodlights, the event saw almost half a million pounds raised in aid of Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity following the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals Gala. Couple this with a pledge from the LTA and Tennis Foundation to cough up £200 worth of tennis gear to primary schools across London for every ace across the event meant that a further £57,600 was channelled back into children – that’s a staggering 288 aces.
…we don’t say goodbye to the World Tour Finals just yet…
It’ll take another 28 hours and 200 litres of paint to prepare the centre court for next time but we don’t say goodbye to the World Tour Finals just yet, but thank goodness we’ve got it in our backyard for a little longer.