New WTA Tournament to be staged in Biel Bienne as of 2017
Octagon and InfrontRingier bring the WTA Tour to Switzerland
Zug, Switzerland – Octagon and InfrontRingier Sports & Entertainment Switzerland are bringing the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Tour to Switzerland, with a new indoor tournament to be staged in April each year starting in 2017 in Biel/Bienne.
The tournament has been granted official status by the WTA Tour, the women’s professional tennis circuit, in the ‘International’ category. It will feature 32 players for the singles competition and a draw of 16 for the doubles. The tournament is well positioned at the start of the European Spring season as players return to the continent following the popular US tournaments in Indian Wells and Key Biscayne.
The event is designated to take place at the national tennis centre of Swiss Tennis. A new indoor arena is due to be completed in February 2017.
Octagon, the global sports and entertainment marketing and talent management powerhouse, has extensive women's tennis experience in Switzerland. In addition to having staged a premier WTA tournament for 25 years in Zurich, and other WTA competitions in Lucerne and Geneva, Octagon also represents Martina Hingis and Belinda Bencic.
“We are very pleased that such a broad group of exceptional interests have aligned to create this new tournament,” announced Philip D. M. de Picciotto, the Founder and President of Octagon. “The marketing and media excellence of InfrontRingier, the esteemed status of Swiss Tennis, the world class talent of the Swiss players and the WTA's global leadership position in professional sport for women have enabled a mere idea to become a reality.”
Lukas Troxler, Deputy Managing Director of InfrontRingier and designated Tournament Director, commented: “We are more than proud to partner with Octagon to bring the WTA Tour to the country, especially at this time, as Swiss women’s tennis is experiencing tremendous international success and a huge upward trend. Tennis fans in Switzerland are eager and enthusiastic to support their players and it is exciting for the country to once again become a world stage for tennis. We would like to extend our thanks also to Swiss Tennis for its support and look forward to continuing our successful collaboration.”
Hall of Famer Martina Hingis commented: “I am really looking forward to having a WTA tournament back in Switzerland. I have fond memories of my first WTA tournament in Zurich and I am excited that Octagon has been able to work with Swiss Tennis and InfrontRingier to bring an International event to Biel. Switzerland has a great tennis history and having such an event in my home country will help to build on that. Being able to play in front of your home fans is a special experience and I plan to be involved as much as possible to help make the tournament a success for the Swiss tennis fans.”
WTA star Belinda Bencic added: “It is a unique experience and great honor for me to be part of the WTA Tour’s return to Switzerland. Having a tournament in my home country gives me the opportunity to give something back to the tennis fans in Switzerland. I know from my own experience that being able to watch the world’s best players in person can be inspiring. I really look forward to playing in front of the Swiss audience and will hopefully be able to contribute to the growth of the sport there.”
Gian Gilli, Managing Director InfrontRingier, said: “Our vision as InfrontRingier has always been to drive progress and enhance the Swiss sports landscape in a sustainable way. This partnership is a significant milestone in this regard, as we expand our portfolio with a new highlight in the national sports calendar. Contributing our proven event management and marketing experience, we will cease no effort to make this tournament a success and strengthen Switzerland’s position as a leading tennis nation.”
InfrontRingier will also market the national media rights to the event – with the international rights lying with the WTA. Furthermore, the company is offering a title sponsorship opportunity, as well as further attractive partner packages around the event together with access to an exclusive hospitality area that will serve up to 400 people.
WTA CEO, Steve Simon, said “Swiss tennis is enjoying an exceptional era and we’re delighted the beautiful town of Biel will be part of the WTA calendar in 2017. We invite our fans to be part of the excitement and enjoy outstanding world-class tennis in Biel.”
InfrontRingier Sports & Entertainment Switzerland AG, based in Zug, Switzerland, is a 50/50 joint venture between the international sports marketing company Infront Sports & Media and the largest Swiss media group Ringier. It unifies the competencies and experiences of both mother companies and has developed into the leading sports marketing company in Switzerland. InfrontRingier supports organisers of sports events as well as top athletes as a marketing, consulting and service partner. The high-level national portfolio includes, besides others, the Raiffeisen Super League, the Swiss Ice Hockey Cup, the Basel Swiss Indoors and the Tour de Suisse.
Octagon, the inaugural winner of the “Sports Agency of the Year” Award by the SportsBusiness Journal, is the world’s largest sports and entertainment management and marketing company with global expertise in athlete, broadcaster, and entertainment management, corporate consulting, events, property representation, marketing solutions, licensing, merchandising and talent procurement. As part of The Interpublic Group (NYSE:IPG), one of the worlds’ leading organizations of advertising agencies and marketing services, Octagon employs more than 800 people in 22 different countries around the world. For further information please visit: http://www.octagon.com or follow us on Twitter: @Octagon.