WTA Championships Awarded to Doha

The Sony Ericsson
WTA Tour announced that
Doha,

Qatar, successful host of the 2006
Asian Games, will host the 2008-2010 Sony Ericsson Championships, the most
prestigious event on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. Under terms of the $42
million, three-year agreement, the Sony Ericsson Championships will feature
record prize money of $4.45 million, equal to that of the ATP’s season-ending
Championships, the Tennis Masters Cup. The singles winner’s check of
$1,485,000 represents the largest single guaranteed payout in women’s tennis
today. The announcement follows an extensive and competitive global
bidding process begun earlier in the year that included expressions of interest
from numerous major international cities and that resulted in a four-way
finalist bid runoff between
Doha;
Bangalore,
India;

Istanbul,
Turkey;
and

Monterrey,
Mexico.

The Sony
Ericsson Championships in

Doha,

Qatar will be
the season-ending pinnacle of the 2008-2010 Sony Ericsson WTA Tour
Calendars. The Tour released today the 2008 and 2009 Calendars, with the
2008 Calendar featuring 60 tournaments in 34 countries offering record prize
money of approximately $67 million, and the provisional 2009 streamlined
Roadmap Calendar featuring 56 tournaments in 32 countries offering record prize
money of approximately $77 million.

“The
awarding of our Sony Ericsson Championships to

Qatar represents an exciting
continuation of our strategy to showcase the very best of women’s tennis in
different regions and markets throughout the world,” said Sony Ericsson
WTA Tour CEO Larry Scott. “Doha has been a longstanding supporter of
women’s tennis, including having held the first women’s professional tennis
event in the Middle East in 2001, and has demonstrated the ability to
successfully host world class sporting events such as the 2006 Asian
Games. This agreement, along with the significantly increased prize money
to be offered, also demonstrates the value that the Tour’s Roadmap circuit structure
plans have injected into the sport. I am particularly thrilled that in
the year that both Wimbledon and Roland Garros made historic decisions to award
equal prize money to the women, our Sony Ericsson Championships will for the
first time ever in 2008 offer equal prize money of $4.45 million.”

“We
are honored that
Doha,

Qatar will
become the new home of the most prestigious and storied tournament on the Sony
Ericsson WTA Tour,” said Sheikh Mohammad Bin Faleh Al Thani, President of
the Qatar Tennis Federation. “As the first country in the region to
have staged a women’s professional tennis event, we are particularly pleased to
offer women tennis players equal prize money at the Sony Ericsson Championships
for the first time ever.

Qatar
has proven its ability to host incredibly successful world class sporting
events, and we look forward to welcoming the world’s best female athletes and
making the Sony Ericsson Championships in 2008-2010 the best season-ending
finale ever.”

“I’m
really excited that
Doha will host our Sony
Ericsson Championships beginning in 2008,” said Amelie Mauresmo, Sony
Ericsson WTA Tour World No. 4 and defending
Wimbledon
champion. “Players really enjoy playing in

Doha. We’re a global sport and it’s
great that we are able to feature our very best event in different regions of
the world, whether it’s Europe, the
US,
the
Middle East or elsewhere.”

“We
are pleased with the decision to hold the 2008 Sony Ericsson Championships in

Doha,

Qatar. We are a global
company with operations in all key markets around the world, and after holding
the event in the US and Europe, we believe it is a natural move to take it to
the Gulf Area, which is an important market region for Sony Ericsson,”
said Dee Dutta, Global Head of Marketing, Sony Ericsson. “We look
forward to building on the successes of the
Los Angeles
and

Madrid
events, both on the court and through our exciting off-court initiatives, which
aim to broaden the appeal of the sport by taking tennis to a totally new
audience. Additionally it is fantastic news that the 2008 championships will
bring us in line with the men’s end of season event in terms of equal prize
money.”

The 2008
Sony Ericsson Championships in

Doha,

Qatar will take
place in the Khalifa International Tennis Complex, a world-class facility that
has been the home of the Qatar Total Open event on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour
since 2001. As part of the deal, the Qatar Tennis Federation plans to
expand and enhance the existing facility.

In 2006,

Doha hosted the 15th
annual Asian Games, the second biggest multi-discipline sporting event in the
world following the Summer Olympic Games. The event was universally
considered a fantastic success, with 10,000 athletes from 45 countries
competing in 39 different sports and 21 separate venues, all of which was
globally broadcast by 28 networks across 20 counties. Doha also is and
has been the home of a number of other prestigious sporting events, including
the Qatar Masters European PGA Tour event, World F1 Powerboat Championships,
Qatar MotoGP motorcycle Grand Prix, Qatar Superbike World Championships, and
the IAAF Qatar International Grand Prix Championship, among others. The
Qatar Tennis Federation also owns and operates the successful Sony Ericsson WTA
Tour tournament in

Berlin,
the Qatar Telecom German Open.

The Sony
Ericsson Championships, which features the top 8 singles players and top 4
doubles teams, has become one of the most coveted sporting events in the world,
which as part of the Tour’s strategy has been showcased in different key
markets around the globe in world class venues. Over the course of the
past years, with the addition of Sony Ericsson as title sponsor and an
incredibly successful inaugural year in

Madrid,
the event has reached new levels of popularity, prestige and global exposure.

In its
storied history dating back to 1972, the Sony Ericsson Championships has been
held in the internationally renowned cities of
New York,

Munich,
Los Angeles
and

Madrid.