Game, set and match for Dubai Tennis sponsors

Regional and international companies line up to support the Middle East's leading tennis event.

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By  Mark Johnson Published  February 20, 2005

As the 2005 Dubai Tennis Championships gets under way, the host of companies that have sponsored the two-week event look set to cash in on huge television coverage of the tournament. An estimated 400 million viewers from around the world are expected to tune in as top tennis legends, Agassi, Federer, Henman and Safin, battle it out at the Middle East's showpiece premier tennis event. The championships, which are owned by Dubai Duty Free, have attracted a strong mix of regional and international sponsors into the event, including Arabian Radio Network, Emirates Airlines, meBANK and mineral water company, Masafi. International sponsors include luxury carmaker, Jaguar, sports producer, Adidas, Xerox and Swiss luxury watch brand, Baume and Mercier Local and regional companies, such as meBANK, with little or no direct connection to sports, are increasingly lining up to support such events in order to portray themselves as creative and exciting in the eyes of potential and existing customers across the region. Louis Scotto, retail banking general manager at Emirates Bank International said: "Linking up with the Championships is in keeping with our commitment to promoting Dubai as the sporting capital of the Middle East and is a reflection of meBANK's image of being exciting and innovative." Of course, appearing alongside globally recognised sporting names, such as Agassi and the Williams sisters, also helps to boost sponsor involvement. "The fact that there are a number of the world's top players here, this year's Championship should prove to be very exciting and we are delighted to be a part of it,' Scotto added. A range of promotional activities aimed at children has also won backing from big local and international names. Dubai natural gas company, Dugas, has sponsored the ATP Dugas Kid's Day for 21 February, and the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, which is scheduled for 28 February. Prize money in the two-week long competition stands at US$1 million for the Men's Open, with the winner receiving US$187,500. The Women's Open has total prize money of US$585,000, with the winner receiving US$93,000. Organizers of the Championships, Dubai Duty Free, have announced an unparalleled player line-up for the men’s and women’s competitions, which run from 21 February 21 to 5 March. Dubai reigning champion Roger Federer; American showman Andre Agassi; and Australian Open winner Marat Safin have all signed up for the tournament. Britain's Tim Henman accepted a wild card this week and will join compatriot Greg Rusedski, who returns to Dubai for the first time since 1999. The impressive line-up for the Men’s Open, which includes almost half of the world’s top 50 players, will be the perfect prelude to the Dubai Women’s Open which starts on February 28. Signed up for the Dubai Women’s Open are World No. 1 Lindsay Davenport, superstar sisters Serena and Venus Williams, and one of the fastest rising stars on the tour, Australian Open quarter-finalist Alicia Molik. Russians Anastasia Myskina and Svetlana Kuznetsova will also return to Dubai for another shot at the title. No less than 13 of the top 20 women players have signed up for the Middle East’s showpiece tennis event. According to the competition's organisers, Dubai Duty Free, it's a line-up of talent that is hard to find anywhere in the world outside of the four major Grand Slams. “The confirmed line-up is a huge vote of approval from the players who are amongst the best in the world,” said Colm McLoughlin, Managing Director of Dubai Duty Free.

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