"Shenzhen is honored to have been selected as host for the WTA Finals", said Liu Fengning, General Manager, Shenzhen Gemdale Sports Industry Co., Ltd.
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.
A new state-of-the-art arena in Shenzhen will be the venue after bids from Manchester, Prague and St Petersburg were unsuccessful.
Prize money will double from the current US$7 million.
The move represents a significant investment in the China market at a time when the sport is aggressively expanding its reach in the country, with the addition of a number of new tournaments in recent years.
The stay in Asia also means there will be five tournaments that are at least Premier level in Asia (Pan Pacific Open, Wuhan Open, China Open, the WTA Finals, and the WTA Elite Trophy).
Billie Jean King, founder of the WTA, said it was "absolutely incredible" to witness the growth of the season-ending event.More news: Barrick Gold Corporation (ABX) EPS Estimated At $0.21
According to the WTA, the Shenzhen organisers have committed to building a new facility in the downtown area at a cost of about US$450 million. "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".
Key players welcomed the move, and the big boost in money they will earn.
"The championship is being taken to a place that's willing to grow the sport and investing in the sport", she said.
"We are very excited about the opportunity I think that Shenzhen brings", Steve Simon, the CEO of the WTA Tour, said at the Australian Open on Thursday. They were the ones that put the money on the line. They're willing to build a stadium, willing to accept the game and its level and the players. "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".
2019 will mark the 49th staging and Shenzhen is the 10th different city to host the WTA Finals.
The WTA Finals - which began in 1972 - was held in the United States until 2000 and has also taken place in Munich, Madrid, Doha and Istanbul.