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2008 ASB Classic Smashes All Records

2008 ASB Classic Smashes All Records

Once again the ASB Classic has outdone itself with results of a tournament review by organisers and sponsors showing just how successful January’s event was as records were broken in on all counts.

The annual review is conducted by Auckland Tennis in conjunction with the WTA Tour, the global body for women's tennis. It measures crowd attendances, TV audiences, website traffic and media coverage along with an assessment of event facilities, tournament organisation and player feedback.

A huge bonus for the tournament was the emergence of Marina Erakovic who progressed all the way to the semifinals of the tournament with some inspirational play beating former top-10 player and event top seed, Vera Zvonareva in the quarterfinals.

¨I worked very hard at the end of last year in Amsterdam with Michiel Schapers and with that I felt pretty good and physically ready to play in the ASB Classic this year. Obviously my home-town tournament was a great success. It gave me a lot of confidence to play girls at the top level and I have continued to this thus far for the last few months.

The crowd, the atmosphere and the overall support was just fantastic. It definitely helped me raise my game to another level, a level that has helped me break the top 100 this year for the first time. The ASB Classic certainly gave me a good start to the year and hopefully I can continue the good results,” says Erakovic.

The performance of Erakovic were followed by fans at the venue and around the country as a new era in the sport appeared to be hailed. Erakovic has since gone on to break the coveted top-100 rankings with her limits knowing no bounds. She has risen from a ranking of 161when she entered the ASB Classic to a current high of 86.

New Zealand's tennis fans turned out in their droves to support home-grown hero Erakovic with a record crowd attendance of 22,900, breaking the previous best set in 2007. Four of six days of tournament sold out despite the dates falling over New Year holidays.

While the audience around centre court set records, the sport's armchair supporters were not to be outdone.

Statistics show TV audiences for the 2008 ASB Classic were at a record cumulative TV audience of 1.453 million, an increase of over 120,000 viewers on previous year.

A revamped event website featuring the innovation of daily audio and video podcasts, live scoring and live video streaming also reached new heights, record website stats - recorded 63% more traffic on previous year, with the live scoring facilities and ASB Wildcards audio podcasts again proving popular and the addition of innovative new videocasts featuring the likes of Lindsay Davenport and Maria Kirilenko opening their hearts and minds to listeners and viewers also attracting numerous hits.

There was also record media coverage across all mediums with newspaper coverage alone up over 30% on 2007 while radio commentary on a daily basis was extremely popular and the general reporting and photography was raised from previous years.

As sponsor ASB also proved that their relationship can deliver tangible results, wrapping a tennis-themed term deposit campaign around the tournament that delivered investments totaling in excess of $400million.

A big seal approval for the tournament comes from the champion herself, Lindsay Davenport who has risen from her entry ranking of 72 at the ASB Classic to a current position of 30 after her two titles in 2008 – Auckland and Memphis and wins over top-10 players Marion Bartoli and Ana Ivanovic.

“The way in which all concerned, volunteers, staff, sponsors and media worked to make the tournament successful, relaxed and friendly was amazing.

The crowds were fantastic also. The tournament had a unique blend of professionalism mixed with a very human face. If I am still playing next year I will definitely be back.”

Sony Ericsson WTA Tour supervisor Jimmy Moore in his debrief commented how much players enjoy being here and that they frequently remark how well they are looked after and made to feel welcome by everyone. “It is a great Tournament,” he said.

Details surrounding the tournament's long term future are being finalized and stakeholders expect to make an announcement soon.

The 2009 ASB Classic will be held Monday 5 January – Saturday 10 January.


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