Serena Williams and Sania Mirza will play at the Sony Ericsson International in Bangalore
India’s largest WTA Tour Event will be held from February 12 - 18, 2007 at KSLTA, Bangalore
Bangalore, India – 18 December 2006 – After a successful second year of tennis sponsorship, Sony Ericsson increases its commitment to the sport by tying up with the Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association (KSLTA) to bring the Sony Ericsson International, a Sony Ericsson WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) Tour event, to Bangalore. With the title sponsorship of the tournament in India, Sony Ericsson aims to further popularise and promote the sport of tennis in India, as it has been doing worldwide through the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. KSLTA is pleased to announce confirmed participation from Serena Williams and Sania Mirza for the tournament. This will be Serena’s first appearance in India and the talented player is set to enthral the Indian audience with her exciting power tennis.
Announced today at a press conference in Bangalore, Sony Ericsson International will sit alongside the company’s other tennis commitments: the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, which culminates in the Sony Ericsson Championships in Madrid in November, the Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai, also in November, and the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, to debut in March 2007.
Commenting on today’s announcement, Dee Dutta, Corporate Vice President and Head of Marketing at Sony Ericsson, said, “We are very pleased to become the title sponsor of the Sony Ericsson International in Bangalore. Serena Williams and Sania Mirza are two of the most talented players on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour and we are confident that they will be joined by other top international players at the tournament in February.” He added, “We are pleased with the rising popularity of tennis in India. There are many talented players in the country and this has been showcased by India’s excellent performance in tennis at the recently concluded Asian Games in Doha. Sony Ericsson International showcases Sony Ericsson’s commitment to the Indian market and we aim to be an integral part of the tennis movement in India.”
“Our association with tennis is about enabling people to explore their passions. Throughout the past two years of our tennis sponsorship we have combined our brand expertise and innovative thinking to provide something new and something different to tennis fans of all ages, and to extend the game beyond sport. We wish to do the same in India, one of our company’s most important and dynamic markets,” Dutta added.
According to Mr. R. Ashok, Hon’Ble Minister for Health, Government of Karnataka & Vice Chairman, Organising Committee, Sony Ericsson International, ”Karnataka Government is pleased to welcome Sony Ericsson to be associated with this WTA Tour event at Bangalore. Sony Ericsson International is a very important event in Karnataka and our Government is pleased to co-host it with KSLTA. I am sure that this event will showcase Karnataka as a progressive state, equally committed to the development of sport, along with its culture and heritage.”
According to Mr. Sunder Raju, Hon’y Secretary, Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association, ”Women’s tennis in India captured the imagination of the Indian public when a youngster started her battle on the courts of the Australian Open against Serena Williams. KSLTA is pleased to provide a platform for witnessing a replay of this rivalry live by having both these players at the Sony Ericsson International in Bangalore. Whilst such events provide a major input in generating future champions, we believe corporate giants will see this as a valuable medium.”
According to Serena Williams, “I am very excited to be playing in the Sony Ericsson International in Bangalore, especially for the first time. Tennis as a sport has become more and more popular in India, and I hope many fans of all ages will come out and see us play. I always look forward to visiting a new country and playing in new good tournaments.”
Speaking at the press conference, Sania Mirza said, “Sony Ericsson has had a major impact on the WTA Tour. It has helped to make the sport cooler and more accessible because of its links with music, film and fashion. As a result tennis has broadened its appeal to new audiences. I look forward to the newly created Sony Ericsson International next February, in my country.”
Larry Scott, CEO of Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, said, “Since our landmark sponsorship agreement began in 2005, Sony Ericsson has become an invaluable partner of women’s professional tennis. Today’s announcement is another exciting development in their support of the sport and underlines clearly their commitment to tennis in India. We look forward to working with them to make Bangalore an international class event in one of the world’s most important and vibrant markets.”
At the tournament Sony Ericsson will have category exclusivity for mobile phones and cameras, dominant on-court and off-court presence, and will be presenting the trophy to the winner of the women’s hard court event. Plans regarding the activation of the title sponsorship include consumer promotions for both mobile phones and downloadable content, as well as clinics with Sony Ericsson WTA Tour players, corporate hospitality and a VIP celebrity event during the tournament.
Since embarking on the tennis sponsorship programme in January 2005, Sony Ericsson have been a major innovator in tennis, particularly in its partnership with the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. Innovations such as live scoring, instant replay, pre-match player interviews, interactive mobile phone content, interviews with coaches during matches and on-site tournament entertainment, to help make the sport more fan-friendly and to allow spectators and TV audiences to interact with the players. Sony Ericsson’s overall investment in tennis from 2005 to 2010, including the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour and Sony Ericsson Open, is worth more than $110 million.
Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications serves the global communications market with innovative and feature-rich mobile phones, accessories and PC-cards. Established as a joint venture by Sony and Ericsson in 2001, with global corporate functions located in London, the company employs approximately 7,000 people worldwide, including R&D sites in Europe, Japan, China and America. Sony Ericsson celebrated the 5th anniversary of the start of the joint venture on 1st October, 2006.
Sony Ericsson is the global title sponsor of the Women’s Tennis Association, and works with the Association to promote the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour in over 80 cities during the year. The Tour culminates at the Sony Ericsson Championships in Madrid, Spain, in November. Sony Ericsson is also the title sponsor of the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, Florida, in March. This is the leading international professional tennis tournament outside of the four Grand Slams, a mandatory tournament on the men’s ATP Masters Series and the women’s Sony Ericsson WTA Tour.
For more information on Sony Ericsson, please visit www.SonyEricsson.com.
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