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October 26, 2016
HEATHER BOWLER: Thank you everybody for joining us today. Welcome. I just wanted to say the next 30 minutes obviously is the press conference, and we will be opening the floor to questions afterwards.
We are live streaming this press conference, so if you could just put your phones on silent that who would brilliant. No dancing, no singing until the press conference is over.
For media online joining us, you can send us text questions and we will ask them of anybody on the panel. Please when you send your text make sure you tell us who you want to address your question to, your name, and which media you're representing.
Once again, thank you very much. We will open the floor to questions for media in the room first. With no further ado I'll pass it over to Steve Simon, CEO.
STEVE SIMON: Welcome everybody to our casual approach to a press conference, our fireside chat or whatever may be appropriate. It's clearly a privilege to be back here in Singapore again. This is and always will be a very special place for me, as it's where I started my journey with the WTA with all of you here last year.
Hopefully everybody will be as nice to me when it gets to Q and A as they were last year, but I am sure there is no guarantee to that. Here we go.
As you can see, todays' session is certainly a lot more than about what I have to say. I would like to start by introducing my colleagues up here with me.
To my left, Micky Lawler, president of the WTA.
MICKY LAWLER: Hello everyone.
STEVE SIMON: Matt Cenedella, our chief operating officer of the WTA.
MATT CENEDELLA: Hello everybody.
STEVE SIMON: To my far left, Mike McGraw, the co-CEO of the Social Channel.
MIKE McGRAW: I actually get a microphone? This is great.
STEVE SIMON: We could only afford three. Okay? Budgets are tough. Okay?
It's amazing how fast a year can go by. I think what I would like to do is start by sharing with everybody here a short video that's been put together by our very talented team celebrating the 2016 season.
STEVE SIMON: Well, as I can see from the video, we're known for having a little bit of fun. It's also been a very, very exciting 2016. When you think about it, it has been quite a year, a very memorable year.
We now have a new No. 1 player in the world with Angie, who I think is going to be just a tremendous representation of the No. 1 position and what it means to our sport and our game.
Throughout the year we've been watching and cheering for a brand new generation of players that are coming forth. Clearly through the results this year we're seeing that group coming through.
We experienced probably the ultimate race that you can have in sport. Our race to Singapore went to the final match of the year, which is quite an accomplishment. Sveta might have something to say about that, but it was quite an accomplishment.
And our WTA Finals field that's here in Singapore I think is something to be very, very excited about. We've seen some amazing tennis the first three nights. I certainly believe it's going to continue through the rest of the fortnight.
With the greatest 8 singles players and the top 16 doubles players that are all here with us, I think what's even more important is not only are these women great athletes, but they're great people. They're going to be great role models for many, many people out there in this world. It's a very, very exciting time for the WTA.
This year's Finals has certainly gotten off to a great start. I would like to take a second and thank our partners here with the WTA Finals. Legard√É¬®re Sport and the team led by Sarah Clements has just done a terrific job.
The Singapore Tourism Board and Sport Singapore, who have certainly welcomed us with open arms into this wonderful and beauty city.
Event partners of this event, which are lead by BNP Paribas and SC Global, as well as the WTA team that has worked tirelessly on this event with Lagard√É¬®re that's been led by Melissa Pine, our tournament director.
When I visited here with you last year, I think one of the first things I reflected to everybody was I was going to take a very open and honest look at our business, and that any successful business needs to be willing to evolve.
We have gone through that process. We didn't waste any time. We took a very hard look in in the mirror. That's always hard to do, because sometimes you don't like you what see. What I think we're going to share with you today will reflect that positive evolution is in fact coming and is happening, even today, here with the WTA.
What's come from this review, and it's clear to me as an organization, is that we need, as an organization and maybe even as sport, to think differently. When you say that, what does it mean? What are we talking about?
I think it begins with not being satisfied. Maybe that's the competitor in us and the tennis players in us, but we should never be satisfied. We're very proud of our stature of being the No. 1 women's professional sporting league or tour in the world. That's something to be recognized and to be very proud of.
However, what I want to do is to strive to not just be the No. 1 women's professional sport. We want to be competitive with all professional sport, irrespective of the gender. Then we truly have reached equality, and then we are also able to be competitive in the marketplace in which we complete, where we're competing for broadcast rights, sponsorships, data rights, as well as something that's very critical to us, audience.
Based upon this, the thing that we need to focus on and the things that we will be focusing on and you're going to begin to see it today, is probably four key areas or pillars, if you like.
The first one starts with aggregation. That's a big word. It's probably a clunky word. But I think it's an appropriate one, because aggregation of product and/or your assets is really what drives increased value in our marketplace. We've seen it time and again. You'll see it in some of the presentations that will come forth with you today.
The second one is broadcast. Broadcast is critical because it's the vehicle that delivers audience. It tells our stories. It allows us to take our fans on tour, which is something that we have to do.
The other element that's going to be coming, and you're seeing it in our world today and it's probably new to the WTA, is digital. Digital is critical because it provides the multiple platforms necessary to deliver the WTA product to a much more diverse and growing audience out there.
Then finally, we have to look at our calendar and circuit structure, as this is the foundation and the mechanism which delivers the products and the stories to be told.
What I would like to do here is now to turn it over to my colleagues on the stage to provide you with an overview on how some of the very significant changes we have coming in 2017 within the broadcast and digital space will reflect this focus and the evaluation and the approach we want to be taking with the WTA Tour going forward.
So Micky, I am going to turn it over to you.
MICKY LAWLER: Thank you, Steve. In December of 2014 you may remember that we proudly announced the extension of our relationship with Perform. We also announced the formation of WTA Media.
The start of this new ten-year, over $500 million partnership begins in January of '17. It's just around the corner. So what do we have to look forward to in terms of change?
As Steve mentioned, aggregation is a major pillar this delivers value. So adding values into a pool. We've seen that already in our current television agreement, whereby our Premier events have pooled their international television rights.
What will be different in the next cycle of the relationship with Perform from January onwards is that we're also including the international rights of our smaller events, our international tournaments. So a lot of international, but you'll see that it's going to be a huge enhancement.
The other really great thing to look forward to is consistency in productions. WTA Media is taking over production of all of our events. Eventually this is going to be phased in over time. That will give us a consistent look. That's important in the competitive landscape.
So if you can picture, we're going to go from 800 matches currently televised to over 2000 matches. Because you can't get enough of WTA tennis, of course. All singles matches are going to be televised, and the doubles will be broadcast from the quarterfinals to the finals.
To give you a sense of scale, the live broadcast can be seen in 172 countries, with a global TV household reach of close to a billion households. To be exact, the number is 913.4 million households.
Of that number, 479.1 million households are in Asia; 106.2 million are in Europe. To what do we owe such success?
Well, to a combination of existing broadcast partnerships, such as BT Sport and beIN, and to the addition of new major networks that are traditionally entertainment platforms, such as Sony. The partnership with Sony in Latin America, for example, will allow us to double our TV viewership in Latin America.
In addition to a shift from the traditional sports space to the entertainment space, we're seeing a major shift from linear television to digital Internet screens.
Last November you will remember we announced the biggest partnership in WTA history with Chinese digital giant, iQIYI. What this partnership does for us and for iQIYI is number one, it validates our start-up mentality, which is absolutely necessary when we're continuously challenging the status quo.
Of equal importance is that it delivers excellence to the fan. For the first time in our history we are going to be complementing live matches by creating also original content. You can envision such content as behind the scenes access, docu-series, live biographical series of our players, getting our fans closer to our players, and transposing archival footage to current footage to give historical content. Because we have come a long way, baby.
Most importantly, this partnership with iQIYI gives us the opportunity to intersect the social conversation around WTA as the sport happens in real time around the world.
The iQIYI partnership has also given us the opportunity to develop a global digital and social network to interconnect every aspect of WTA, to tell the compelling stories that we have. Every athlete has a story; every tournament has a story. Actually, we have an endless number of stories.
On the commercial side this enables us to build a true business case for our invaluable global partners, such as SAP, USANA, and Dubai Duty Free.
With SAP we are able to tell the technology story. We're also able to push the envelope on the evolution of our sport. You've seen the coaching app. That's just the beginning of the relationship with SAP.
USANA helps us to keep our athletes and ourselves healthy.
Dubai Duty Free gives us the ability to purchase high-quality products at a good price, which is specifically important to Donna. (Laughter.)
Thank you does not begin to express the appreciation that we feel for those partners who are on this adventurous journey with us. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
So we hope that in this next chapter, this new chapter, our digital and social ecosystem will greatly benefit our partners, our players, and most importantly our fans.
In the past five days here in Singapore we've seen a tremendous increase in the social engagement around the WTA Finals in Singapore. To talk about this, is my esteemed friend and colleague, Matthew Cenedella.
MATT CENEDELLA: Thanks, Micky. Hello, everybody.
Earlier Steve talked about the key pillars that will drive the WTA's growth forward. In support of the audience aggregation and through digital, the WTA is thrilled to announce the launch of a new digital media and marketing decision called WTA Networks.
Networks will deliver to fans the highest quality on- and off-court content availability anywhere. As you can see on the slide here, a new logo has been, or is coming. We've established WTA Networks, and here is our logo. That really defines the digital nature of our efforts in this arena, and really will propel us forward as we move on in our digital strategy.
WTA Networks will completely revamp the WTA's owned and controlled platforms, WTAtennis.com, as well as all of our branded social channels. The new digital and social content platform creative look and feel and enhanced user experience will launch on January 1st, 2017, at WTAtennis.com, and via mobile apps for both Apple and Android Smartphone and tablets.
Very exciting time. When we talk about the structure of WTA Networks as illustrated here, the WTA is collaborating with the Social Channel, a leading full-service digital marketing sales and content development company based in New York City.
The company was founded by seasoned digital entrepreneurs, Rob Dwek and Mike McGraw, who bring to WTA Networks an extensive experience in digital content, content creation, social media, technology, and brand integration.
Today the WTA is a major sports league. We see this step in our digital and social evolution as transformational for all involved, especially tennis fans. We are materially committed to this venture both financially and throughout our entire organization.
We believe that WTA Networks will make the WTA a leader in sports media, while also creating a world-class company that elevates the WTA brand to consumers globally.
We have, and as you'll hear in a moment, dedicated a great amount of resources to this effort and endeavor, especially over the last couple days here in Singapore. We really are wanting to make sure that we continue to deliver exceptional content. You'll see some of that in the results that will be shared in a moment.
The goal is very simple: take our fans on tour with us throughout the entire year, and allow them to experience the WTA in a way they've never been able to before. We're very confident in the strategy going forward.
I'm thrilled to introduce both Rob Dwek, who is in our audience today, as well as Mike McGraw from the Social Channel. Mike is going to take you through some of the building blocks that are guiding us going forward. I think you'll very excited with what we're ready to share.
MIKE McGRAW: Thank you, Matt.
On behalf of Rob and I, I just wanted to say how excited we are to be joining forces with the WTA and entering into this exciting endeavor. We think that we have everything in place right now to build a world-class digital network for women's tennis. We've been pretty busy over the last several months doing just that.
The first thing I want to do is when we were considering how to build this platform, we had to really consider the stakeholders involved, and really to get right down to it, how we're taking the players, events, and sponsors and integrating them into an experience that's going to serve the fans the best and grow the audience and aggregate the audience, as you've heard on this stage many times.
In doing that, you've got to go back to the fundamentals and concentrate on the building blocks that go with building any good digital network. It starts with a solid technology platform that can deliver content efficiently to the fans in the format they need across all screens.
You need the human capital that knows how to drive this platform. You need professionals that can go and create compelling content on a consistent basis. You need professionals that can go distribute it far and wide to build the greatest audience. And finally, people that know how to integrate our brand sponsors into this platform.
We think we've gone a long way with building these essential building blocks for the service. I'll take you through a couple of those right now. From a technology standpoint, we're very excited to announce that we're partnering with three great technology companies to bring this to fruition.
The first one is Ooyala, which is a leader in digital video delivery. We are also working with our long-time partner, SAP, to provide live data into the site to make it the most relevant and compelling content that we can possibly have.
We're also using Microsoft's cloud-based Azure platform to basically provide the foundation to house the entire platform on.
So I would say with those three we've got a pretty strong team behind us to deliver this technology platform. You can see the screen, it's just a little taste of what you'll be seeing come January.
The site and the owned properties are going to be very videocentric. They're going to incorporate a lot of the live data. We are going to be integrating the players and the sponsors and the tournaments seamlessly into this experience across all devices.
Be expecting a really big upgrade in what you've seen from the WTA online come January.
After we've got the technology is in place, it's all about making good content. Content drives this endeavor from top to bottom. No doubt you've seen some of the exciting content that we've been putting out as kind of a teaser for what you'll be seeing in the 2017 season.
We're going to be concentrating on four main areas: That of live streaming of press conferencing, practice sessions, galas, draw ceremonies. We are going to continue to produce top-quality, intimate off-court content with the players. We are going to be showing highlights in as close to real time as you're probably going to see out there on the net.
Then as Micky alluded to earlier, we are going to be going into that treasure trove of the WTA archives and be producing some compelling documentary segments on our players.
After we've got the content in place, it's all about getting it out there. So you'll see us moving through four layers of distribution, starting with the WTA owned properties, expanding out to the player tournament sites. Beyond that, going to the influencer networks and fan sites. Finally, we are going to be announcing some pretty exciting partnerships with some of the big publishers as they want to enhance or enrich their women's tennis offering.
Just a little sneak peek of what's been going on over the past six days. In advance of launching the technology side, as I've said, we've been producing content here at the Finals and the results have been very, very encouraging.
As you can see, video views from this time last year are up 1500%. That's a pretty huge number if you think about it. New users to the site is up over 20%. Mobile users you can see is gaining strength as well.
That number of engagement per post that you see there is 239%. It's a big indicator for us. It tells us or indicates what the quality of our social content is. It's really refreshing to see that. It means quality content, premium content, pays off in the social space. Also, just to note, 11 of the top 15 videos of all-time posted on the WTA happened this week over the last six days in Singapore.
And finally, referrals from social. I'm probably getting too excited about this because I'm a real data geek. Referrals from social is something we look at quite closely, because it tells us how well our social content is funneling or aggregating back to our owned probabilities. So we look at this number very closely.
All this coming to a screen near you January 2017. We are really excited about it. Hope you'll go online and check some of the new consent out, interact with it, and of course share it with all your friends.
With that, back to Steve.
STEVE SIMON: Well, thanks, Mike. I believe what Micky, Matt, and Mike have shared with everybody does in fact reflect a different way of thinking and a different approach as to how we're trying to drive value as well as audience, which I think is critical for us.
To address the final element or pillar, I indicated earlier that our calendar and circuit structure is the mechanism that provides for the delivery of our product, the telling of our stories, and allows us to take our fans on tour.
We clearly have some issues with our calendar, which many of you here today have been covering and remind me of every time I see you, as well as a few of my members as well.
Yeah, we do have challenges there. It's of critical importance that we address these challenges and we formalize a calendar that creates the supporting structure that provides for a healthier, better, and stronger tour at the end of the day.
We're aggressively working on a variety of strategies with our board and members. We believe that it'll bring us and provide the ability to make the appropriate changes that addresses, as an example, the tight turn we have this year between having a race that went to the last match of the year and the first match here at the WTA Finals.
We obviously here in Asia had transition challenges when you transition from Tokyo to Wuhan to Beijing. These are areas we have to find solutions for and fix that, no question about it.
We need to provide for a healthier and more balanced calendar that maintains one of our key strengths, which is our global presence, while allowing our players to play a much healthier schedule.
We need our players on the court, not visiting the doctor. We need to work on that and give them the best chance to be there.
Then finally, what we need is a structure that allows us to drive our audience through a consistent and defined delivery of product so, again, we can tell the stories and take our fans on tour through all the platforms now available to us and we're putting that infrastructure in place for.
With that, we certainly appreciate everybody taking the time to join us here today. Heather, turn it over to you to open up for questions.
We'll ask everyone again to be nice.
HEATHER BOWLER: Okay, great, if you do have questions, please raise your hand. We'll pass you a you microphone.
Q. This whole live streaming thing, specifically streaming press conferences, we the journalists that travel the tour are very strongly against this. Ultimately it could end up that you don't have press conferences, because newspapers won't send if they can possibly source a press conference without having their man on the ground, if that makes sense. So I'm just wondering, are you going to stream everything, every single press conference?
MIKE McGRAW: Good. I get the first question. Yeah, the plan is to make those press conferences available to the fans because it is a compelling piece of content that fans are demanding. They want to see those press conferences. They want to see them in their entirety. That was the rationale behind doing it.
I think the strategy of how we make sure that those the press conferences give precedence to the journalists that are in the room and the way that they're conducted, is a policy decision by the WTA. I know that every since we started talking about these, the needs of the journalists and making sure the journalists were front and center has as always been the first concern.
MICKY LAWLER: We want you to come to every single WTA event. The only thing that we want changed is WTA, instead of being covered on the last page of the newspaper needs to move to the front page of the newspaper. See, Barry, if we can get that arranged then we will be good.
But in all seriousness, what we want to do is work with you so that we are like every other sport that televises or makes available at least parts of the press conference so that there is this direct dialog.
There is always room for literary interpretation of a press conference. There are very many different angles from which stories can be written about the athletes. We don't want to in any way impede your work. We want to help move the needle of tennis, WTA specifically, so that your job is actually easier and so that you can convince your editors that you very much need to be here.
Q. Tennis journalism is restricting at the moment. Micky, your former local paper, the Washington Post, doesn't even have a tennis correspondent anymore.
MICKY LAWLER: Right.
Q. We need every help we can get from the tour to keep us going around the world. I don't mean, you know, come up with air tickets or anything like that. But if a sport editor who has a finite budget suddenly finds out that he doesn't need to send his tennis correspondent to the Miami Open and he can do it by having that guy at home streaming in online, he will do it.
STEVE SIMON: To answer your question, Barry, our world is evolving. As Mike said, our fans are expecting this because it is happening in many other sports. Obviously as a journalist being here on site you will have access to certain things that you wouldn't have if you weren't here, even if it wasn't being streamed.
It also addresses the issue that in attracting media environment coverage as you've described, is now we are getting the information out that may not be covered at all in the current way. So we have to balance that.
I think as all this evolves we're going to balance this and manage this as we go forward. I do think it's in front of us, and we do need to be relevant across the board and deal with all of these issues being discussed and raised here.
HEATHER BOWLER: I have a question that's come in online, and this is for you, Micky. Fans love data and statistics to chew on and argue about. What plans are there to make historical data and match statistics available as open data which fans and others can study and work with. In every other sector this is happening, and the result is new ideas, innovation, and economic growth.
MICKY LAWLER: We are working very closely with SAP to make that happen. The coaching app -- tennis is a traditional sport, and you all know how long it took, and it is still not widely accepted, because the other day we saw an interview between Pat Cash and Darren Cahill where Pat Cash said, I'm not a huge fan of on-court coaching.
Darren explained that there is a lot to choose from on your television set, on your mobile devices, and when you buy live tickets to events. The more relevant we can make the sport and the closer we can get the fan to the sport, the better off you're going to be.
Data equals information, and the more available we make it, first of all the athletes to increase their performance, but second to the fans to understand how it is increasing their performance and making them better is a huge priority.
SAP is "the" partner to work with on this subject. They are very, very active in trying to find new ways and pushing the envelope. In fact, we're getting together in December to work on this, so you can expect us to challenge this continuously and make it available.
HEATHER BOWLER: I have a second question for you Micky, and perhaps Steve. What is the status of negotiations for potential new sponsors? And with the new initiatives that are being put in place, do you think it will attract new sponsors?
Perhaps a second question within same question is do we feel that today we're looking for global partners, or regional sponsors is a more realistic ambition.
MICKY LAWLER: Well, why is Simon not here?
HEATHER BOWLER: Exactly.
MICKY LAWLER: So, yes, we do think that this is instrumental in building the business case for -- and I hate to call them sponsors, because they're not the sponsors any longer. That concept is pretty obsolete. It's all about partnership and building the partner and the WTA together.
So when we have these conversations, which we do, because we do speak directly to women and men, but we're the only league in the world that speaks to female athletes or females that has female performers that touch on travel, finance, health, beauty.
So we provide a vehicle that directly speaks to women who have buying power over $23 trillion and women who today verus ten years ago have the power to decide what car they're going to drive and how they want to own that car and how they want to invest their money to make their families financially secure.
Building the business case for us is very important. When we speak to a potential partner, whether it's a global partner or a regional partner, we need to show that partner that their dollar invested is going to turn into two dollars. That we could not do without pushing things on the media side.
You know traditional advertising is also dead, because every viewer has control of what they view, how they view it, when they view it.
So the conversation has been to be compelling in a different direction. This is for us an opportunity that we have never seen.
So the answer to Simon is we're talking to a lot of potential new partners, global, regional, local, universal, everything. And Simon, if you have one in mind, please send them our way. We are happy to speak to them and really offer a very compelling case.
Thank you for the question.
Q. My question is to Steve: You mentioned very briefly just now finding a solution to the tight turn from the qualification to the Finals. What is the solution? Is it that you have considered addressing this problem and finding a solution of this problem? Is it to shift the cutoff date earlier or what?
STEVE SIMON: That's the challenge. What is the solution and how do you get there? What's the affect, the ongoing effect of finding the solution?
There are solutions that have been discussed about considering flipping the Finals here in Singapore with the tournament that's next week, The Elite Trophy in Zhuhai.
Seems on paper it's a simple flip, but there are obviously a lot of elements involved with that with respect to player flow, business issues, contracts. There are many, many different things that have to be addressed.
As we begin looking at our calendar and our circuit structure, this is something that has to be fixed. There should be a week lead-in to the WTA Finals. The WTA Finals should be the last event of the year. Period. We have to figure out that solution.
Right now it's here in week 43, which means if you moved it to week 44 you have definitely issues with a FedCup final that's behind us. You have players getting into their off-season. We have contracts in place. We have venues to deal with. We have broadcast schedules.
There are a number of different things, but there is a solution there. We have to figure out that solution, as well as how do we find that solution that fixes the rest of the fall calendar as well. That's what we're working on.
Many different scenarios right now, but the spirit is there to get it fixed, and I believe we will.
Q. This is all really exciting what's happening and what's coming up in terms of the fans. From an Australian perspective, one of the things we're grappling with at the moment getting girls to participate in this tennis. Not so much to get them into the sport, but for them to stick around and play as a lifelong thing at the grassroots level. Steve, what role do you think the WTA can play with getting girls into the sport, but also making sure they stay there and make it a long-time passion?
STEVE SIMON: I think we do have a responsibility to bring people to the sport because it's our future product as well. I also have said many times that I think tennis is a great vehicle for young people, as well as anybody, to pick up this great game and to play it.
It certainly allows the pathway for young people to learn that they can do anything that they want to do and become our future stars of tomorrow, no matter what endeavor they wish to follow or pursue.
We have started a program -- I say we. Melissa Pine, Sarah Clements, and the team here in Singapore, have created a Future Stars program that goes into the grassroots and provides young opportunity and a pathway for young players to play tennis, and as they progress, actually to come here to Singapore and participate as part of Finals.
I think putting programs in place like that that could potentially become part of every tournament and having a feed-in to that tournament so you have the grassroots effort, as well as what I'm excited about right now that I alluded to earlier. I think this new generation of players coming up are really going to be some great role models. They're wonderful women. They've got great personalities. They get it.
We finally now have the platforms from what we are discussing today to begin telling that story. So that young player who is now going to consume it on a phone or a tablet or on the social side, may get attracted to our sport and want to follow it, which will make them say, Mom, can I go hit some tennis balls or I would like to learn.
I think it's a combination of all of those, and that is what we're trying to look at and be inclusive.
MICKY LAWLER: And just to add to what Steve said, in just three years we went from starting with five Future Stars events throughout Asia Pacific to 18 events. So the work done by the team is nothing short of remarkable.
You will also see it's a big focus of our circuit structure moving forward you will see.
HEATHER BOWLER: Last question.
Q. This is the third Finals in Singapore; two more to go. Have the conversations started about what happens after 2018? At this stage, is the WTA's preference to have the Finals go to a new host city, or does Singapore have the option to continue hosting?
STEVE SIMON: This is our third year in Singapore, and we've had a great three years in Singapore. This event has grown and improved each and every year. Great credit to the team.
It's something that, again, we want to look at. No decisions have been made for the future. We're beginning to look at that. We certainly have had conversations with the local government and the supporting parties here and have indicated we would love to talk about a longer future here in Singapore, as we also evaluate all of our options.
I would certainly like at some point for these WTA Finals to find a more permanent home for them where we can truly build the event, the traditions, and you can make the investments that you need to to truly build an event.
Singapore is certainly a very dynamic, vibrant, beautiful city. It's something that we would be very proud to call home. It's something that we will hopefully have more conversations and see where they go.
HEATHER BOWLER: Thank you very much. One last question.
Q. I appreciate the reasoning for evolving. Also, I take Barry's point as well. Is there ever a fear that you're leaving some core audience our fans behind? As some of you might know, the newspaper business has been in a problem on how to make the Internet work, et cetera. They just had a huge study that came out, and the only part of the newspaper business that is viable and money-making is actually the written newspaper, the print, and that they have not been able to determine any way of making the Internet. Some of these things leave some of the older generation fans or people who don't have access to all these platforms behind with all the excitement of technology.
STEVE SIMON: Yeah, I think it's a very complex issue and question. This whole world is evolving in front of all of us. I think we have to be respectful to all of the platforms. I don't see the written word going away. It's what platform are you going to see it on, and how do we deal with what we need to deliver to our audience? How do we deal and deliver what we need to to the audience that can't be here today? We had a couple questions that came in from online who weren't here but now are getting the information.
And how do we deal with the evolution with the print, the hard copy that's going on out there. So I'm not sure where that future all goes yet. I think we now have the platforms to deal with it electronically, which we haven't had before. And digitally. Now we need to look that transition.
We're also looking at this as far as broadcast as well, the linear part of broadcast. I'm the one that still wants to watch my TV on the screen over here versus my phone. I'm that old.
I can tell you that my grandchildren don't ever look at that and watch everything on their tablet or phone or computer. All of this is evolving in front of us. We need to maintain my current audience, absolutely, but I also need to be prepared for the future as well, because we have that responsibility.
It's evolving and it's managing it as we go through. A lot it is us communicating figuring how we can help you and make it work. The only goal is to get the stories out there. We're not trying to take it away from anyone.
HEATHER BOWLER: Thank you very much for attending. Thank you Steve, Micky, Matt, and Mike.
STEVE SIMON: We want to just thank you guys for all of your support. Many familiar faces out here. Many you guys follow us year-round. You've been very, very supportive of us. We sincerely appreciate it and don't take any of the support you provide granted. We don't get mad when you take a shot at us either. We're big boys and girls and we can take care of it. It all goes with it.
We sincerely appreciate the coverage and the support you guys provide the WTA and our sport as well. So thank you. (Applause).
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports