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August 26, 2000

Mike Davies

Anne Worcester


ANNE WORCESTER: Hi, everybody.

Q. Happy? Overjoyed? All of the above? Tell us your feelings now that the tournament is finally over. ?

ANNE WORCESTER: I guess all of the above exceeded our expectations. I mean, we always hope that we would do things bigger and better. But just to walk through the site in the last couple of days and have complete strangers walk up to us and say: Thank you so much for bringing this to Connecticut; had a great time and people just walking up to us and sharing their experiences for their kids, for the adults, pretty much all -- people of all shapes and sizes just sharing their positive experiences with us has been a real reward.

Q. I know you wanted to set a record from last year, break last year's attendance record, does this 82,000, does this shock you or, I mean, it is some great numbers - are you surprised?

ANNE WORCESTER: We would have done much better on Wednesday had we had better weather day and night. We would have had much better walkup than -- the advance sale Wednesday night was something like 34 people walked up to try and see Martina. But I think there is only one other tournament -- there is only one other Tier II tournament on the worldwide Tour that generates this kind of attendance number and that is San Diego which has played in its market for 15, 20 years. So for us to be in that league, I mean, 700 bodies' difference in Year 3 of being in New Haven is a real positive barometer. We will beat them next year.

MIKE DAVIS: I have no doubt we will, next year. I mean, any time you have a tournament like this that we have had, a very successful tournament, I mean, we have had great weather. We got the two people that obviously we wanted and the public wanted in the finals and Martina was playing in three sessions. So that was very good for us. You just build on this. I mean, we have always projected that we are not going to jump 50% in ticket sales in one year. If we can make the 10 to 11% growth situation, we will be happy with that and I think we certainly can do that.

ANNE WORCESTER: What was most surprising to me this week is seeing how many people came here to just enjoy themselves regardless of watching tennis. There were so many times that our picnic tables were packed and people were browsing the sponsor displays and eating and drinking and just having a great time. I mean, Friday night, to see more than 8,000 people here listening to live music and dancing in and around the picnic tables was the most rewarding moment of the week. Our Sports Zone was packed. Every time I went in there, kids of all ages as well as adults were enjoying the tennis and soccer and basketball activities. Our kids day, we had more than 6,000 people here and the biggest name that was playing that day was Jelena Dokic so I don't think the people were -- I think the turning point for 2000 is that we have arrived as a happening, as a real event and yes, people expect world class women's tennis, but they are coming here for the entertainment value and that is something we have worked hard to achieve. So I would say for me, personally, that is the turning point of 2000.

MIKE DAVIS: Chris was telling me that the parking was the highest today than it ever has been since 1995 when Agassi played. It is another barometer. You generally find out the health of tennis by seeing how many tennis balls they sell during the year; how many players playing is a good barometer, well --

ANNE WORCESTER: How many cars are parked in the parking lot is a good barometer.

Q. You have gotten a foundation obviously in place and you said that this thing has become an event. (a) how do you make it more of an event and (b) is the top priority now for next year to go out and try and get that Martina Hingis to change her mind and come here and get Lindsay to come back and Anna and whoever else you can get?

ANNE WORCESTER: I will answer the second question first. We spent the afternoon recruiting Serena who has not committed, but she -- I think she was very surprised to come here and see the permanent facility and she had lunch in the players lounge and was exclaiming how good the Carbones Catering was. She said something to me like: Yeah, I am going to talk to Venus about maybe switching out this tournament with her. I said: What do you mean? I said: Well, Serena by next year, maybe you guys will be more comfortable with playing in the next -- in the same tournament; you shouldn't need to -- maybe you wouldn't need to divide them up. So we were laughing about it after the match because I said to Venus, I said: Serena wants to talk to you about switching this tournament. Venus kind of looked at her like she was crazy - like this is my tournament, Serena. So I think we made a very favorable impression on Serena today, which is good timing because the players all need to start think about their 2001 schedules in the next two weeks at the US Open. They don't hand them in just yet, but the WTA just sat down with me and gave me sort of the debriefing and things that we need to do better like could we add a section of the training room for the doctor, like completely -- the reports from the players and from the WTA were glowing, which is really nice because they all take that to the US Open. They talk about the last tournament in the locker room and the timing is perfect because they are thinking about their schedules for next year at the same time. So definitely from a player perspective it would be nice to have more than two superstars, so I'd say that would be a real goal.

Q. Is that something you work on right now? Do you go to New York Monday for the Open and start pushing the word of mouth?

ANNE WORCESTER: Yeah, yeah. The next two weeks will be -- Monday is my son's first day of kindergarten so I am actually going to take the day off to make sure that he gets off on the bus okay. Actually he doesn't have to go until the afternoon. Smith and Barbara asked me to read the news as their celebrity news reader or some crazy thing like that, they must be really desperate. After I read the news on Smith and Barbara, I am going to put my child on the bus for his first day to kindergarten and Tuesday I will go to the US Open.

Q. What other things do you think you need to do?

ANNE WORCESTER: When I saw the people responding to the music on Friday night like I am thinking maybe we could do that every night, really make it kind of a festive kind of concert atmosphere every night. The players that heard band wanted to know if Derrick and the Fun Bags can come to the player party on Monday night next year. So I think live music is always a sure thing. I think encouraging our sponsor booths to be more and more interactive, you know, the Dooney & Burke shopping for designer bags at the Dooney & Burke both was very popular; Borsan Cheese sampling; shopping at Opticare for designer sunglasses. People love to go someplace and shop. We reinstated our pro shop this year so that there was a walk-in shopping experience. I don't know if anybody remembers last year we had trailer which didn't go over real big and that was a cost-cutting thing. So I'd say providing the fans with -- continuing to provide the fans with more and more to do other than watching tennis. Carbones Catering, far and away best decision we ever made. The players raved. The sponsors raved. The box holders raved. The food this year, I think, was better than it has ever been thanks to Carbones taking over all the aspects and food is important. Martina Navratilova, I can't tell you how many times on the Tour during my ten years that I traveled with her, food was always the issue because food is expensive. She came up to me the first night here and said: The food is perfect. She said two things, the crowds are great and the food is perfect. I said thank you, I will pass that along to Carbones. Unsolicited. So more of the off-court entertainment as well as recruiting even more superstars. We were really lucky to get Martina at the 11th hour because we definitely had fans here that wouldn't have been here otherwise because of Martina. We were very lucky to have somebody like Venus and somebody like Monica who probably attracted names that transcend women's tennis and attracted people to the tournament that might not otherwise be here.

Q. Other than that, adding lights to the grandstand, anything aesthetically you want to do in terms of --

MIKE DAVIS: We'd like to we certainly like to have the money to do quite a lot of things to the stadium. The stadium, you know, in our mind, the stadium is a great stadium, but there is things behind the scenes that are not there, that we have to provide. The catering, for instance, we have to really start that from scratch. There is no chance or permanent type things and the sponsor suites and the tents that we put up, all of those things, every year it is a big expense. There is $250,000 to get those tents and various things like that. If we can look forward down the road and see if we can't look to getting some of these things done on a permanent basis so we don't have to pay for them every year, that would be very helpful to us. I'd like to be -- I'd like hopefully that the Tennis Foundation of Connecticut which is the non-profit organization that looks after this, I'd like to be able to give them the security to be able to say: We are going to be here for a long time and we need to go to the state and maybe get some money to do some improvements here. The fact that we don't have an elevator in this stadium which the new stad -- that one could be down the road. There are some basic ones that I'd like to look at. Putting up the grandstand every year with the seats that we have to put up, that is a $20,000 cost to put up the grandstand every year and maybe it would be some benefit if we can get some investment in that Yale would like to have a smaller little stadium. This stadium is too big to play college matches on, and practice on, you had don't particularly want to practice on this court -- not practice, but go and play for fun on this court because the balls go underneath the stands and it is so big you are walking so far away -- it is all right if you have got ball boys, but it is not for everyday use. So a little grandstand up there that had a couple of thousand seats could be very helpful, maybe to Yale, so we want to pursue those kind of avenues to see if we can get a better finish to the building and it will certainly help our bottom line if we can get some money that the TFC -- the money will have to go to the TFC if it's from the state, from the Connecticut Development Authority or something like that. But overall, I think we had -- I don't know whether the -- we had an investors meeting while we were up here and the investors were very, very happy with everything and they basically gave us the green light to move forward and try to try to go to the USTA and extend this agreement for another ten years and try to extend it after 2003 so that we can have this kind of continuity that we can go to the state and maybe ask for some funds that can help this -- building this stadium. So we are going to do that and look forward down the road. It only would have happened if it -- only could happen as long as last year we had a successful tournament and this year we have had a more successful tournament. I hope the bottom line is more than, you know, that is another thing.

ANNE WORCESTER: We don't know all the expenses coming in for the next month and vendors, they bill you for overtime and unexpected charges and our financial person spends the next month deep in reconciliation of all the bills, so we don't know yet where we are financially. But hopefully --

MIKE DAVIS: We are confident financially that we will be in the right column. What that depends on mostly now is the budget that we had for our overhead, if we have been able to keep that while the tournament has gone on. Because when the tournament goes on, you know, if something has to be fixed, it has to be fixed. That is all there is to it. A lot of things that one -- but hopefully we have done a good job in terms of overbudgeting so that we can get surprise in a nice way rather than in a bad way.

ANNE WORCESTER: There is actually one more unrelated topic. One more interesting bit of feedback that came back from the players unsolicited that they seem to feel that there is more to do in Downtown New Haven. One player used the word "facelift," that New Haven seemed to have a facelift in the past year. I think we did a lot more for them here, everything from manicures and pedicures to Counting Crows to Dave Matthews, but I think that they also felt more comfortable Downtown and that they discovered more restaurants and more shops and seemed to enjoy themselves more. Whereas, in the past, it was like I am going to play here because I need to play here, but not because I have any interest in going to New Haven as my destination. So I thought that was very positive as well because we are competing with San Diego, LaCosta Spa, L.A., Montreal --

MIKE DAVIS: London, Paris.

ANNE WORCESTER: -- yeah, the other cities are much sexier than New Haven, but the nice thing is that they discovering all that New Haven has to offer and we did a lot more this year to share that with them. We had information about the Yale British Art Museum and the Peabody Museum. Sabine Appelmans went for an entire afternoon to those museums. She was taken around personally by a Tour guide from the city, and a couple of the players last weekend went to see Annie Get Your Gun at the Shubert. The Shubert has been dark for the past two years. First time they have had a summer show. So I think that all those factors and the amenities - free golf at Yale, everything that we did for the players this year on site was also coupled with sort of this new greater feeling of not only comfort, but just that there were more exciting things to do in Downtown New Haven which is really important to us as we recruit. Monica Seles, I just went to say good-bye to her, I said -- she said all these nice things. I said, honestly tell me what we can do better. She said, nothing. It was perfect. Can't get much better than that.

MIKE DAVIS: We are constantly facing it with all of the international cities around the world, 52 weeks of the year, that tennis can be played and tennis is played and the Tiger Woods situation, it is almost, you know, now these tournaments the tournaments that don't get Tiger Woods are like, oh, well, and we have got it right now as far as Venus is concerned here and what is happening, but it is a competition as far as, as you say, La Costa, Paris, Rome, London, San Diego, L.A., you know, major attractions, major cities. It is hard to compete constantly and this is -- we have got the blessing of being the week before the US Open and being in the vicinity of the US Open and then we have got the counter balance of some of the players who say, you know, gee, I don't want to -- I don't want to work too hard the week before the US Open, that is the balancing act. So the nicer we can make it, obviously the better it will be. As long as Anne is in the dressing room everyday talking to the girls, it will be all right.

ANNE WORCESTER: Players favorite thing was Dooney & Burke this week; that is all I have to say. Thanks to you guys because with the exception of one or two stories, you have been great. It has really been a pleasure to work with you all. And we appreciate all the expanded coverage and --

MIKE DAVIS: We have never able to complain about the press and the media that we have got in New Haven and never have in Connecticut. They have always been great to us and that has always been wonderful.

ANNE WORCESTER: Thank you very much.

MIKE DAVIS: See you next year.

End of FastScripts....

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