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Australian Open organisers look to enhance links with Asia for 2017 tournament
Accessibility, integrity and stronger links with Asia where the key themes emphasised by organisers at yesterday’s launch of the 2017 Australian Open.
Tournament organisers will stage major event launches for the first tennis Grand Slam tournament of the year in Shanghai, Tokyo and Singapore for the first time in October and November with the initiative aimed at building more in-bound tourism into Melbourne for the event.
Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley explained “the Australian Open’s profile as the Grand Slam of Asia-Pacific has been in place for more than 15 years.
“This is a long-term strategy to invest in the growth of the sport and our events in the region and we are always seeking new promotional opportunities.”
Other Australian Open initiatives aimed at Asian fans, tourists and businesses, include:
• Multi-language websites allowing Chinese and Japanese fans to purchase tickets directly.
• Expanded broadcast deals in the region increasing exposure.
• Dedicated offices in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing with commercial, media rights, content and operations teams.
• Year-round resources developing rich content for Australian Open WeChat and Weibo channels.
• Syndication of radio and video content through local partnerships.
• The staging of the fifth annual Australian Open Asia-Pacific Wildcard Play-off in the new host city of Zhuhai (from 28th November to 4th December).
• An official partnership with Sina Sports.
Commenting on these links, Tiley advised “independent tourism continues to increase and we want to make it easier than ever for our international fans to access the Australian Open.
“Of course, part of that is increasing awareness around this time of year, which is why our partnership with the Shanghai Rolex Masters and relationships with prominent players is so important.
“Our broadcast reach in the region continues to expand, with China and Japan among our biggest markets, and ongoing negotiations with a number of broadcasters.
“We are the most relatable of the Grand Slam events in this region. The time zone works for attracting viewers on TV, and Australia is not that far away. Gone are the days when group tours were the only way people travelled to events.”
With the launch staged at the entry to the new Tanderrum Bridge, which will provide a seamless link from Birrarung Marr to Melbourne Park, the organisers also emphasised improved access to the Australian open with a new $5 children’s ticket as part of an increased family focus, including a new childrens’ zone, The Ballpark
The event will also offer an expanded entertainment program including a free opening weekend and and will also see the establishment of a Tennis Australia Integrity Unit with capabilities in monitoring, investigation, analysis and education.
A report on this year’s Australian Open, undertaken by Repucom and Centre of Policy Studies, showed that the event provided record economic benefits to the state of Victoria.
The two-week long tournament injected $278.1 million into the state’s economy – up from $245.5 million in 2014 and almost a 70% increase on 2008 when it generated $163.3 million.
Tiley added “these numbers prove that our ongoing focus on in-bound tourism, particularly in the Asia Pacific region, is paying dividends and contributing incredible economic benefits to Melbourne and Victoria.”
Of the record breaking 720,363 attendees, 48% were from beyond Melbourne, beating the previous best attendance record of 703,899 set in 2015.
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