By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek
March 23, 2012
With average annual economic impact of more than $300 million, the Sony Ericsson Open is the equivalent of South Florida hosting the Super Bowl every March. Last year’s tournament drew a record crowd of 316,000, a total officials hope to break this year. The Sony Ericsson Open’s $9 million in prize money makes the tournament arguably the most-popular non-Grand Slam of the year and underscores why the sport’s top players are willing to fly directly from Indian Wells to participate. The event has been named ATP Tournament of the Year by a vote of the tour players in nine of the last 11 years.
All told, the event receives nearly 5,000 of broadcast coverage, reaching 43 million viewers worldwide, plus 2 million more unique website viewers over the tournament. All these are strong metrics for Sony Ericsson, which spends an estimated $20 million annually on the naming rights. However, with the company dropping its WTA sponsorship after this season, tournament officials must wonder how committed Sony Ericsson is to the ATP and WTA.