ISTANBUL, Turkey - The 43rd edition of the season-ending WTA Championships came to a close at the Sinan Erdem Dome on Sunday, ending the WTA's record-breaking and historic 40th anniversary season on a high, both on and off the court. The WTA's three year run of the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships has showcased the best of women's tennis, and will leave a lasting legacy in Turkey.
The WTA's Chairman and CEO, Stacey Allaster, commented on the fantastic three year run.
"The TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships bring the WTA's momentous 40th anniversary season to an end with a fitting final chapter written in an extraordinary city with amazing tennis fans," Allaster said. "Over the last three years, the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships have demonstrated the incredible reach that women's tennis has not only in Turkey, but all over the world. We are grateful to the Ministry of Sport, the Turkish Tennis Federation and TEB BNP Paribas for their great efforts in making women's tennis more popular and available to tennis fans in Turkey and their fantastic efforts in executing, promoting and organizing this world class event that has taken our sport to another level."
While the WTA Championships will move to Singapore for the 2014-2018 seasons, the Istanbul Cup will return to the WTA calendar in 2014 and will be hosted in the new Koza World of Sport Complex.
The passionate people in Turkey have embraced the WTA Championships, helping set attendance records for three straight years. With the finals sellout of 16,457, a total of 69,983 fans attended the six day competition in 2013, with 18 total sessions registering a three year total in Istanbul of 213,879 fans. Broadcast and digital media reach records were also set at the event, demonstrating the global reach and strength of women's tennis. TV coverage covered 170 countries via 50 broadcasters and 1,000 overall hours produced, which includes live matches, match replays, and player highlights.
The WTA Championships set new records for fan engagement, earning 15 million more fans across social media over the three years in Istanbul, with over 150 million reached via #WTAChamps. In 2013, the WTA delivered exclusive backstage digital content across all platforms, including two broadcasts of WTA Live. For the first time, fans around the world were able to watch the official draw ceremony live on YouTube as well as participate by asking players questions directly via WTA Live All Access presented by Xerox. The WTA also brought fans closer to the event with a #WTAInsider campaign, daily Twitter takeovers and Facebook photo blogs by players and special guests of the media.
The WTA's Top 8, from eight different nations, helped write a thrilling final chapter to the remarkable 2013 season. While the intense competition helped showcase extraordinary athletic prowess and skill of the WTA stars, Serena Williams has yet again proven why she is No.1 and considered one of the greatest athletes of all time. In a season highlighted by 11 WTA titles, including two Grand Slams, Serena has ended her 2013 season ranked No.1 and set a record in prize money earned. Serena's $3.6 million earnings at the 2013 US Open is the largest single prize money purse in tennis history, making her the first woman to surpass $12 million in a single season, and pushing her career earnings past $51 million. Her 78-4 win-loss record for the season included a career-best 34-match win streak.
Hsieh Su-Wei and Peng Shuai earned their first WTA Championships doubles title, the first team from Asia to accomplish the feat. They earned the trophy by defeating Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina. It has been a breakthrough year for both Hsieh and Peng after winning their maiden Grand Slam at Wimbledon, and achieving career-high doubles rankings (Hsieh No.4, Peng No.5). Hsieh was the first player from Chinese Taipei to win a Grand Slam and Peng became just the fifth from China.
After an extensive global search and bidding process, earlier this year the WTA announced the 2014-2018 WTA Championships will be hosted in Singapore in the state-of-the-art US$1.3 billion Singapore Sports Hub. The year-end tournament will be transformed into an international entertainment spectacle and will feature new events: WTA Future Stars, WTA Legends exhibition matches, concerts, coaches and trade symposiums, a Women In Business Leadership Conference, daily fan festivals open to the public, and a VIP center that will elevate the fan experience to a unique year-end celebration.
Awarding the WTA Championships to Singapore is in line with the WTA's Asia-Pacific growth strategy, supporting the overall focus on emerging market growth. In 2014, the WTA will host more tournaments in Asia-Pacific than in any other region in the world, with 24 events, eight of which will take place in China. Since 2008, when the WTA began its strategic priority to grow the sport and tournament footprint, five tournaments have been added in the region, including the introduction of a new level of WTA professional tennis, the WTA 125K Series, to meet demand for the interest in women's pro tennis in Asia. Attendance, broadcast and digital exposure have set new records in the region.
Singapore will become the ninth different city to host the WTA Championships, following Boca Raton (1972-1973), Los Angeles (1974-1976 and 2002-2005), Oakland (1978), New York City (1977 and 1979-2000), Munich (2001), Madrid (2006-2007), Doha (2008-2010) and Istanbul (2011-2013).