ST. PETERSBURG, FL, USA – The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour announced on Monday the appointment of Stacey Allaster, the Tour’s President since 2006, as the new Chairman and CEO of the world’s leading global sport for women. Allaster will begin her new role immediately and will continue to be based at the Tour’s US headquarters in St. Petersburg, Florida. The naming of Allaster culminates an international search undertaken by the Tour’s Board of Directors and led by leading global executive recruitment firm Korn/Ferry International.
Commenting on her appointment as Chairman and CEO, Stacey Allaster said: “I am honored to lead the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, which since its founding by Billie Jean King 36 years ago has continued to break barriers and grow into a premier global sporting league. The Tour and our sport have enjoyed unprecedented success over the past years, and we are poised for even greater heights in the years to come. Our primary and enduring focus will be our fans, our players and our tournaments, and continuing to build a premium sport and entertainment brand.”
“Women’s tennis and the Tour have never been stronger as a business, and Stacey has been at the center of this business success over the past years,” said seven-time Grand Slam champion and Player Council member Venus Williams. “Stacey has helped to lead the development of a stronger Tour product through the passage of a healthier and streamlined circuit structure. I believe that Stacey will be a great leader for the Tour, understands how players can help drive our business, and has all the tools to take our sport to even greater heights.”
“Stacey Allaster is one of the most talented and respected leaders in our sport,” said Steve Simon, Tournament Board Representative and Tournament Director of the BNP Paribas Open women’s event. “Stacey brings to the role a track record of success in the areas of sales, marketing and television, possesses a deep understanding as to the needs of tennis fans, and has the respect of our players, tournaments and entire tennis industry. Stacey’s appointment is great news for both the organization and the sport.”
Allaster, 46, succeeds Larry Scott, who held the position for six years prior to becoming the Commissioner of NCAA’s PAC-10 Conference. Recognized as one of the most internationally successful female sports executives, Allaster came to the Tour on January 1, 2006 in the newly-created role of President, responsible for the Tour’s operations, business development, television, new media and tournament and player relations. Since joining the Tour, Allaster has played an integral role in a number of groundbreaking Tour achievements and is credited with helping to take the business of women’s professional tennis to unprecedented heights, including:
(i) passage of the Tour’s landmark Roadmap reform plan, which has resulted in a 40% increase in prize money, $750 million of new stadium investment and a healthier calendar better able to ensure that fans see top players competing more often on the Tour’s biggest stages;
(ii) implementation of more fan friendly innovations to the sport than in its prior history, including working with leaders of other tennis governing bodies to bring electronic line calling to the sport, as well as on-court coaching, pre-match player interviews, interviews with coaches during matches and a new doubles scoring format;
(iii) expansion of the Tour’s global television footprint and launch of groundbreaking digital initiatives, including TennisTV.com in partnership with the ATP World Tour, bringing live streaming of matches from the world’s top women’s and men’s Tour events to a global online audience, along with a brand new fan friendly official Tour website;
(iv) playing a lead role in the prior renewal of the Tour’s biggest three sponsorship deals – Sony Ericsson, Whirlpool and Dubai Duty Free;
(v) achievement of the Tour’s longstanding quest to grant equal prize money for women tennis players at Wimbledon and Roland Garros, along with the year-end Sony Ericsson Championships and five of the biggest events on the Tour; and
(vi) reestablishment of the year-end Sony Ericsson Championships as a premier season ending event.
Prior to joining the Tour, Allaster served as Vice President and Tournament Director at Tennis Canada, where she is credited with leading a professional tennis resurgence during her tenure. She was instrumental in generating record revenues and attendance at the Canadian Open (currently known as the Rogers Cup), and turning each of the tournaments in MontrPowered by Sidelines