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November 12, 2006

Miles Flint

Manolo Santana

Larry Scott

Gerard Tsobanian


LARRY SCOTT: Good afternoon and welcome to end of tournament press conference, an opportunity for us to summarize and reflect on this year's championships and talk a little bit about the future. I want to start with the one piece of hard news for this morning, the first piece of hard news this morning, which is the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour has officially selected that Madrid will be the host of the 2007 championships. We're coming back to Madrid next year, which we're very excited about. This has been an absolutely fantastic week, which has exceeded and surpassed our expectations in many respects, from the response and enthusiasm of the public. We just got the final projected numbers that the total attendance for the week will be 53,000 over six days, the potential being I guess slightly over 6,000. We think that's a fantastic success and a major step forward for the event. The response from the city, from the media and all around has really been fantastic from our perspective. We've witnessed great play on the courts. I think it's fair to say that the best of women's tennis has been on display this week here in Madrid, and I'm expecting that today's final will be a fantastic one as well. And I want to take this opportunity to officially thank the gentleman sitting on my left, the general manager of Madrid Trophy Promotions Gerard Tsobanian and director Manuel Santana for the fantastic job they've done as promoters of the event, the quality and the level have brought us to the conclusion, as Billie Jean King said last night at the party that we had, this is the best championships ever in the history of women's tennis. In addition to announcing today that the championships will be coming back to Madrid, coinciding with that we will be releasing our 2007 Sony Ericsson WTA Tour calendar which represents new milestones for the tour. We will be over $62 million in prize money, with 62 tournaments in over 30 countries around the world. And given that we're sitting here in Spain, one notable addition for next year is an official tour event in Barcelona. Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario has been the promoter of an ITF future event. That's going to be elevated next year to a tour event that will be the week after Roland Garros. We are excited that women's tennis in Spain will not only continue to develop and grow in the second year of championships here but at also at a lower level we're going to be able to continue to promote tennis in Spain and give opportunities for Spanish women's players through the Barcelona tournament. Let me take just a couple of minutes if I can to reflect back at the year at large beyond the championships ending on a high note it's fitting because this tour season has been the most remarkable we've had in many respects. On court the rivalries and depth of competition I think have been unsurpassed. So many different stories. The emergence of Amelie Mauresmo as a Grand Slam championship twice was one of the human interest stories for the whole year. Maria Sharapova winning her second Grand Slam, which people have been waiting to see I think has certainly taken her to the next level in people's estimation as a tennis champion. The fantastic year of Justine Henin-Hardenne making four Grand Slam finals in this day and age is quite a remarkable achievement which I know she hopes to cap off today as the number one player in the world, the consistency of her performance, the quality of her performance was really remarkable. And, of course, the Martina Hingis comeback story touched a lot of fans as we traveled the circuit. She's got so many fans and to see with her depth, touch and her thoughtful game in this day and age where people tend to talk about the power in the game, I think just showed the diversity and the dimension of women's tennis today and she's just such a wonderful personality. She delighted fans throughout the world around the world. The future looks incredibly bright for women's tennis. We saw two of the tour's emerging stars, Nicole Vaidisova and Ana Ivanovic establish themselves in the top 20 win events, big events, and both of those players are knocking on the door, breaking through the top 10, and I think we very much have stars of the future who are also quite marketable and attracting a lot of attention around the world. Off the court another year that really advanced the tour in significant ways, new partnerships with USANA, the manufacturer of vitamins and supplements, renewed a new deal with the ITF to reinforce the joint efforts in the fight against doping. New sponsorship with Travelex to handle prize money payments differently, a new landmark TV agreement with Eurosport and Regency, which is the biggest TV deal ever in women's tennis. And, of course, the renewal of our Whirlpool agreement, our European premier sponsor for another three years, which was announced the other day. All on top of the second full year of our partnership with Sony Ericsson which saw huge steps forward in their support and activation. Many highlights, but one in particular was the global TV campaign with Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic around the world which demonstrated how a sponsor can really activate around tennis, and again demonstrated how women's tennis players today transcend the support. And our global stars beyond their sporting relevance. As I look back on the year one has to talk about the emergence of the Chinese players. Couple years back they were talking about the Russian revolution in women's tennis in particular. 2006 really saw the emergence of the Chinese players. We're now four in the top 100. Na Li broke up into the top 20 for the first time, and of course the doubles team here, Yan and Zheng winning two Grand Slams qualifying a Chinese team for the first time qualifying for year-end championships. We're so excited about the uniqueness of our support having players with big celebrity status and prominence in markets like China, Russia, India, the very few sports around the world that are very well positioned in the emerging markets of the world. As I look to the future as well, we've got big plans to take women's tennis to yet additional levels of success. We're taking big steps. Not only with our existing partners, but tackling some of the structural challenges of the calendar and the support. We recognize that as the game has gotten deeper and more competitive, the demands of a season that's too long that can overtax our players and bring on injury is a concern. And through our road map 2010 plans we intend to address that in a very aggressive way. And that's all -- that's on course and I expect that in 2007, sometime in the first half of the year, we will be launching the details of the plan along with the 2009 calendar that shows a dramatic remake of the tennis calendar, which ends at the end of October and has healthier breaks for the players throughout the year. Women's tennis would not be where it is today and looking forward with so much optimism without the man sitting to my right and his company, Sony Ericsson, which has had an amazing vision and belief in what women's tennis can be and they're helping us achieve that in so many ways, including pushing us to innovate and make changes, not only to the circuit structure itself, but on court coaching, instant replay, pregame interviews with the players, innovation has been one of the buzz words today because our partner has been the most innovative and fast growing brands in the world. With that I'd like to introduce the president of Sony Ericsson, Miles Flint.
MILES FLINT: Good afternoon, everyone. Just a few short comments from me. I was just approaching the end of our second year as the sponsor of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, looking back I think we're extremely pleased with the progress that's being made and indeed the benefit we're getting from it through activation and through the board of platform that tennis is able to offer. It's still to us unique being a global support there's practically no other that can offer the same. That's its unique selling proposition. And the fact that it transcends the sport into areas of entertainment and the broader opportunity to reach consumers and to reach retailers and people in our supply chain. The on court, the hawkeye replay, the prematch interviews, those are all some of the things that I think are coming through Larry talks about as kind of pressure from us it's also constructive dialogue about how can we make this sport more marketable and more popular and stand out more from all the other things that the consumer has competing for their attention and their time, their free time and so on. So I think it's working extremely well for us. We're absolutely delighted that the championships will stay in Madrid for next year. I think we did feel it was important that the championships come to Europe, and that's not to decry Los Angeles at all, but we're really grateful to the city of Madrid, tour organization and Harab (phonetic) and his colleagues. I think it's a sensational event. I've been to many in this sport and many more in the other sports and I think the combination of all the different aspects that have come together here is something that everybody involved can be really proud of. And to stay here a second year is really good news. And we feel we can still grow further on it going forward. We've taken steps of some really experimental stuff around night tennis. We're not at this point proposing that that should become a separate sport or anything, but I think it illuminates and highlights the possibilities of innovation and the mixing of sport and other forms of entertainment into a single event. And I think the response to that here has been fantastic. And we will continue to search for different areas of innovation, different ideas, both in the mainstream of the sport and around it. We haven't made any final decisions that we need to review what we're doing here, but I think that we'll probably do something similar in Miami and it would be something nice to do around the time of Wimbledon perhaps around London. We've associated ourselves very much with the WTA campaign around equal prize money. I think the whole concept of equality has been something good about bringing the meaning of duece and quality, bringing it more to the forefront of the way the sport is presented is absolutely fantastic. Alongside all of that, Sony Ericsson reached its fifth anniversary, we're only five years young the first of October this year. We were in the third quarter the fastest growing mobile handset manufacturer in the worldwide industry. We're still a little bit smaller than the three players ahead of us; we're number four. So this moment we're kind of a semifinalist, and our feeling really is that the way we're presenting our brand, the way we're extending it into sports and entertainment is really working for us. There's many other combinations and components to that success, but certainly the sponsorship and the sponsorship with the WTA I think is one integral element. I think going forward there's so much to look forward to. We reviewed our first year's progress at the beginning of this year and decided to extend our participation in tennis. So that's led us to taking title sponsorship of the Miami Open which we'd like to present or see as the Grand Slam and really make that a destination event. We aim to bring people from all over the world to that tournament. I think that will be very exciting, very entertaining. So going forward, I think we're really proud to be associated with women's tennis and the WTA and I think my closing message, it's just been a fantastic job that Madrid has done in staging these championships and it gives us real, real confidence that's something we can build on going forward. Thank you very much. Happy to take questions later.
GERARD TSOBANIAN: Thank you Mr. Flint. Just a few words to say that it was indeed a challenge to put together this event and for several reasons the main ones being that we had in the time frame of three weeks two big events that we had to organize. The men's event three weeks ago and this one. So it was a challenge not only for me but for the whole team. The second main challenge was the ticket sales. We were not sure how the people would react, because as you know there is no Spanish players in the top eight, and we were a little bit nervous about how the people would react and how the ticket sales would go. I think today we can say that there's a big tradition of tennis in Spain not only thanks to Manuel Santana to my left but through all the champions that Spain produced Sanchez and Martinez on the women's side. And we have seen that the Spanish people not only appreciate and want to see their heroes, but they come to big events when they see the best ones are present. And we have seen this week that a lot of people have come to the stadium and have come to see the best players of the world. So that's a good news for us. So, yes, we're going to continue one more year, and we are very proud to organize the Sony Ericsson championship one more year. However, it's a step in reaching our dream, or Mr. (Inaudible) dream and my staff's dream to stage here a big combined event and we really hope that in the future road map we will be we will have a chance to appear somewhere during the year 2009 and beyond. Finally, I would like to come back to the present, because it's nice to talk about the future, but I would like to just say a word about the present. And insist that such kinds of event is not possible without the perfect teamwork. I would like to say thank you to my team, which I didn't invite the whole 300 people that worked for us but I invited the directors, the six directors that work for me during the whole year. They are here present and I would like them to stand up, please, so that you can at least see them visually and I would like to thank them, because they've put a lot of efforts, a lot of patience and a lot of energy in this year and the last six weeks to do this event and I would like personally and on behalf of also Mr. (Inaudible) and Manolo will say it too, thank you, and we have done it. Thank you very much.
MANOLO SANTANA: To start with, I would like very much to thank all of the people from the press that you help us so much from the beginning. You really work so hard for us and I'm very proud to be part of the team that Gerard is commanding. I think after being in the men's tournament, you had all of us worried a little bit how the ladies were going to take off in Madrid. We are very, very happy because the response of the public has been unbelievable. The response from you also. And I'm very proud and happy to work for this tournament for the men's and thank you Gerard to give me the confidence of running this event. There's so many people that work for us. And I'm very happy also that, very proud we have done like you say, you know, between all of us, we brought here 60,000 people. As a tennis player I was so happy and so proud to see yesterday one of the best matches I've ever seen in my life in the women's tennis between Mauresmo and Kim. And I think that was also a tribute to all the people that were there. And I think because of that we look forward to organize this event next year. Thank you, once again. And thanks to you who work for us during the tournament. And once again thanks to the press, because that's cemented how good you do. If you don't support us, it would be difficult to have this. Thank you very much. And I hope to see all of you next year here. Thank you.
LARRY SCOTT: Happy to take questions. We've got some time before the finals about to begin. Happy to take any questions anyone has.

Q. Can I ask a question to Miles, a lot of us in this room have to fight for the space for tennis in general, women's tennis in particular, from our editors. You've put money into women's tennis. Can you explain what is the attraction, if you like, in purely economic terms, why it's a good investment?
MILES FLINT: Firstly, if you look at, you know, the strategy we follow in the business, it's to be different. Sony Ericsson's mission is to be the most innovative attract active handset manufacturer in the global handset industry. And everything we do we try and bring a point of difference to, whether it's the design, whether it's the relationships we have with customers, whether it's the design of the brand. And we're looking for a couple of years ago the company had become profitable. We were looking for a way to broaden our brand identity in the early days of Sony Ericsson when it was turning around from losses to profit, most of the promotion was done around individual products. And we wanted to extend that. We also wanted something that was global and for me one of the defining moments in the early days of this partnership, when I was in Buenos Aires, and the head of PR in Columbia. Columbia, I don't know how many people we employ, but it's less than ten. She came to me with a clippings folder of all the stuff she'd been able to generate in Columbia around a tournament there. So it's a global platform. It's a global partnership, something we can extend locally, make relevant locally. If you're in a business like ours, you have to work on a global basis so that other sports maybe regional or maybe in one continent don't really work. So our business this year, India is growing extremely strongly. We have a very strong business in China and other parts of the so-called emerging markets. Very, very important to us. And again tennis offered that platform. I'm also I think on record saying that for a global support, tennis is actually quite affordable as well. So it's not the same sort of money that you have to put into soccer and into Formula One to achieve, you know, the same sort of money to achieve only a regional penetration rather than a global penetration. Having said that, I think everyone knows that, and I think I get confirmation of this all the time in this sport, that the sport can do a lot to promote itself better and I have a view that tennis is undervalued against the potential that tennis has. And I think that some of that is, I hope, quiet, gentle, but firm encouragement from the sponsor that also the different interests, not the least Larry himself from the WTA, trying to move to a position through the road map of other activities, where the sport can be more focused, better presented and perhaps more easy to understand to the consumer and to the viewer. So that I think is the process that's underway. I think tennis needs to be that. We're trying to play a constructive and positive part in that. Without wanting to be too critical, I get a little bit disappointed when I see this tournament referred to in certain parts of the press as the, what was it, the -- where is Aldo -- the Madrid Feminine Masters, has been the reporting of this event. Some of that maybe we're not doing our job properly in presenting it. But I think collectively all of us together we can do some things to present the support better. That's what we're trying to do. But in answer to your question, we're absolutely convinced that our sponsorship of this sport is working for us and that was what was behind the decision to extend our participation to Miami and also to take a sub sponsorship in the ATP event in Shanghai as well.

Q. I wanted to ask when the championship was played in Los Angeles, you had the deal I think in four years, now is it a new policy of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour to go year by year for the consenting the last tournament for the season?
LARRY SCOTT: What's unique about this tournament is that it can relocate around the world, as has happened on the ATP and the WTA circuits over the years. Obviously the history of women's tennis, it had a very long stay in New York and very successful stay in New York at Madison Square Garden, but with the nature of tennis tournaments being in one place, I think one of the real assets and great things about this event is that you can move it around the world to bring women's tennis at its highest level to new markets. And I think this week is a great example we haven't had a tournament in Spain or Madrid and yes, it was a bit of a risky proposition to come into a market that doesn't have Spanish players and has global superstars and other Spanish players. And this week has proven the benefit, it's being somewhat opportunistic to take advantage. We're in a great market, traditional markets and it's great for the sport, I think, to be able to spread the popularity by moving to different markets. Having said that, we don't think a model of moving it every year is the right model. The nature of tennis tournaments is that they do tend to need to build up a little bit and I've got 100 percent confidence that the Sony Ericsson championships 2007 will be even better than the Sony Ericsson championships 2006, because that tends to be what happens with tennis tournaments. I think much of the Spanish public probably didn't know what to expect with this event. Madrid Trophy Promotions has done an incredible job trying to educate people through the Igales campaign. Seeing is believing since the event has been here I'm sure the excitement and demand for next year will be much greater. In summary it's finding a balance. We're not wedded to the number of years that we have to be in any one place. With our friends here in Madrid, we're taking it a year at a time, because, as Gerard said, he and Jon Terak (phonetic) and others have a vision that down the road they want to bring the best of men's tennis together with the best of women's tennis and that is a goal they have and something that we are supportive of and are looking at as part of our road map process.

Q. Just change the subject. Just on that, Larry, what about the chance of having a combined year-end championships in the future?
LARRY SCOTT: I'm a very big supporter of the idea that eventually tennis should have a combined year-end championships. I think it makes perfect sense in terms of the story line in tennis, where the best of the men's tour and best of the women's tour come together at the beginning of the year Australian Open. The circuits go apart for men's and women's events come back together for Grand Slams and other big focal points for the support like Pacific life opening in wells, Sony Ericsson open in Miami and as part of the road map plan, the chairman of the ATP and I share a vision that this support ought to have, in addition to the Grand Slams, at least four other major occasions when the sport does come together. With this coming together going apart, coming together going apart I think it would be best for the finally of the tennis season to be about togetherness as one big occasion. Having said that, we've got a very significant priority to develop in our road map 2010 a healthier calendar for our players. And part of that plan entails a shorter season and I'm determined that we'll end the season at the end of October so the players have at least a two-month off season. According to the ATP plans at the moment, they can't end before the middle of November in their plans, and this is a tough one because I very much would like the championships to end together but there's month more important priority than the health and well-being of our players, and I think that will stay the most important priority. Therefore, I don't see in the short-term any chance to bring together the championships

Q. And the second question, obviously we congratulate Arantxa for getting the tournament in Barcelona upgraded. But is this not an upgrade of eating into the preciously short grass court season?
LARRY SCOTT: The tournament here at Barcelona will be a tier four tournament. And I think by definition we, it will tend to get, you know, players that enjoy playing on clay that don't feel that they need a lot of grass court, preparation before Wimbledon. There is also a tradition of having clay court events sort of in this event in the past. Having said that, as part of the road map plan, when we recalibrate our calendar and can rationalize a few things about the calendar, I'd say it's not part of the strategy going forward. I think we would like to have exclusively grass court tennis between Roland Garros and Wimbledon but that will probably be 2009 or 2010 before that's possible

Q. You were talking about globalizing, about opening new markets in China, India, what about the efforts of the WTA for developing tennis in Africa?
MILES FLINT: Well, we do have one tournament in north Africa, in Morocco at the moment, in Robot, and it's certainly something that's on our radar screen, to grow there in the future. We've had ongoing dialogue especially in South Africa where there's such a great tennis tradition. We've had great players come from there a big tennis population about bringing an event back there. The challenge really has been an economic one. I think with the economy and currency situation, it's proven difficult to do. But there are conversations that do go on from time to time about expanding there.

Q. This is for Mr. Flint. I think I'm probably the only representative from the U.S. media here, and everything seems to be pointing to other parts of the world with women's tennis. Obviously the WTA grew up in the U.S. but the championships is in Europe. Expanding into India and China, new tournament here in Spain. And I'm just wondering strategically, you've obviously chosen to make an investment in the U.S. and a big tournament there, why are you doing that and if you agree the future of tennis is really sort of in other parts of the world outside of the U.S.?
MILES FLINT: No, I don't think I've said that the future of this sport is outside the U.S. I said I think the unique advantage of this support is it's a global support. From that point of view, Miami gives us access to the Latin American markets. We in common with many companies have our Latin American headquarters in Miami. I've met with some of our Chinese retailers over here. We'll get lots and lots of people, customers and retailers worldwide, who will come to Miami just as much as they will come to Madrid. Had we used something globally and locally and almost reglobalize it. So it really is the global foundations, you know, of the sport that is the attraction to us. If you look specifically at the U.S., if you look at it from the point of view of a global sponsor, we could invest in the U.S. NFL, NHL, soccer in Europe or Formula One in certain parts of the world but not everywhere. But if you look at it from the point of view a global company and a global industry and I think the data would be somewhat similar for any other global sponsor. In terms of the handset market worldwide, the U.S. market is something like 15% of the total market. I think we have to get it into context, that the extraordinary economic growth that's going on in China and India is shifting the way that big companies like mine will look at sponsorship and so on. You have to either look at it on a specific regional basis or global basis. In our case, competing as a global company, that's what we're doing, and I'm simply reflecting that. There's nothing that says the future is outside North America. North America is 15% is a significant part of any market. But we have to intend to look on it on a global broader basis. If I can just add, you have Miami, you have Madrid, so you can begin to see we at least have something that we can use very strongly in north and South America and in Europe and beyond Europe, and I think that's the way forward in the future.
LARRY SCOTT: Appreciate your attention. Thank you.

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