(October 29, 2012) -- The 42nd edition of the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships was a record setting event both on and off the court. For the second consecutive year, attendance at the Sinan Erdem Arena exceeded 70,000 fans, with attendance reaching 73,072, the highest since 2000, in addition to record crowds for both the semifinals and finals (16,410). The Championships broadcast coverage reached 167 countries and the overall hours produced increased 25-percent, which includes live matches, match replays, and highlights. Nearly 42 million fans were able to follow the on court and behind-the-scenes action from the Championships via WTA social media and digital platforms, leading to a record-setting week for the Official WTA Website (www.wtatennis.com) with approximately 4.8 million page impressions and nearly 500,000 unique visitors during the week.
The battle for the year-end title brought the Top 8 singles players in the world to Istanbul, for the first time, each representing a different nation. The competition was intense on the court, with record-setting matches for length of match (time), most games played (best-of-3 match) and longest tie-break in tournament history. With their on-court success throughout the 2012 campaign both year-end No.1 Victoria Azarenka and WTA Championships title-winner Serena Williams surpassed the $7 million prize money mark, the first time in the history of the sport that two players earned more than $7 million in a single season.
"The TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships bring our amazing 2012 to an appropriately thrilling final chapter, with a truly unique tennis atmosphere. The best-of-the-best competed intensely on the court, breaking records along the way, with the Championships success demonstrating the global reach and strength of women's tennis. The Sinan Erdem Arena packed with enthusiastic tennis fans for six straight days is a testament to the Ministry of Sport and Turkish Tennis Federation’s efforts in executing, promoting and organizing this world class event,” said Stacey Allaster, Chairman and CEO of the WTA.
Total Championships attendance reached 73,072, with the average session visited by 12,179 fans. The final two days of the event proved to be the highest attended sessions in Istanbul as both the semifinals and finals sessions were sold out, averaging more than 15,954 fans.
The TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships broadcast more than 500 hours of coverage in 167 countries through 22 international TV broadcasters, the widest reach of a WTA Championships to date. In 2012, broadcast hours increased close to 25-percent, which includes live matches, match replays, and highlights.
The Championships is an opportunity for the WTA to engage with fans around the world. This year, the fan engagement on Twitter and Facebook increased by 300-percent as the official WTA Facebook page approaches one million likes and for the first time fans around the world were able to log on and view Chairman and CEO of the WTA, Stacey Allaster's State of the WTA Address via the WTA Google+ page.
"Istanbul is a great host of the Championships and fans have been tremendously supportive of the tournament," WTA world No.3 and 15-time Grand Slam Champion Serena Williams said. "The crowds were amazing and gave us such strong support from day one. I had an unbelievable time in my first trip to Istanbul and I hope this tournament continues to get more people, especially kids, involved in tennis."