So here's some news. As anyone who follows the WTA knows, Sony Ericsson refused to renew their name-sponsorship of the tour. Hence the reason why we've been able to get away with just calling it the "WTA Tour" as opposed to, oh fuck it I don't want to have to spell it out again.
Well the WTA has finally picked up a new name-sponsor: PEAK.
PEAK is a Chinese sports apparel company that has a shitload of money but no name recognition outside the confines of The Great Wall. They're not as big as ANTA or Li Ning in China, so we're talking tallest midget in the circus. But like, a really really rich midget. PEAK is the official sponsor of the NBA in China and has signed some big name players in the U.S. like Jason "I barely broke 650 on my SATs" Kidd, Ron "What'd you say about my Mama?" Artest, and Sasha "Yeah, I'm tappin' that" Vujacic.
This is presumably a great move for the WTA, which has made a concerted effort to increase its presence in Asia (they opened an office in Beijing two years ago). If all goes well they'll be able to grow the sport in Asia which will lead to more business opportunities down the road. It's a five-year deal and the price tag hasn't been disclosed (Sony Ericsson's deal was for 6 years/$88M). To be honest, I'm way more OK with a PEAK sponsorship than, let's say, Dubai Duty-Free or Virginia Slims.
There's no denying that this is a step-down from the prestige and global legitimacy of Sony Ericsson. From the news articles it sounds like PEAK is the LA Gear of the Chinese athletic shoe market. So in addition to not having any brand recognition outside of China, even in China, it's not a particularly well-respected brand. PEAK has to hope that the WTA's glamour quotient rubs off.
But in this market you have to take what you can get so good on the WTA for landing a cash-flush sponsor. Hopefully they're giving you enough money to give Petkorazzi her own show on Bravo.
UPDATED: More details have come out. It doesn't look like PEAK will be a "title" sponsor. According to SBJ, it's a five-year deal to become the official apparel and shoe partner in the Asia-Pacific. What does that mean?
Under the deal, Peak will receive licensing and merchandising rights to develop a co-branded WTA-PEAK line of apparel, become partner of the Tour’s successful China tennis festivals and develop a player apparel programme.
So...they're just going to get together to create WTA shirts with PEAK logos? I'm totally and completely confused now. But I think it means you can completely ignore all the shit I wrote earlier. They're not a name sponsor or a title sponsor. It won't be the PEAK WTA Tour. I think.
And, to correct some earlier confusion due to my own lack of clarity, Sony Ericsson is still a tour sponsor. They're just not the "title" sponsor anymore, which is why the tour reverted to "WTA Tour".