The ATP World Tour Finals, the season-ending tournament on the top men’s professional tennis tour, will remain in London until at least 2020 under a new two-year contract extension, with Japanese materials manufacturer Nitto replacing financial services group Barclays as the event’s title sponsor.
The tournament, first staged in London in 2009, will now be renamed the Nitto ATP Finals. The event is staged at The O2, which previously agreed a three-year extension to its contract in November 2015.
The ATP Finals have previously been held in cities such as Shanghai, Houston and New York, and there have been calls for the event to be taken to a new home. However, ATP executive chairman and president Chris Kermode believes there is value in establishing a consistent base for its showpiece event, while admitting there was “huge interest” in the hosting rights globally.
“There is a school of thought to move it around to expose tennis in different regions,” Kermode said, according to UK newspaper The Guardian. “But time has changed, where the exposure of the sport through TV in particular makes that less important. People have access to it and can see the event live.
“I believe all the best sporting events in the world are in the same parts of the calendar, at the same venue – you know where (Royal) Ascot is, Wimbledon is, the US Open is, the Monaco Grand Prix – they are set and always in the same venue.”
Barclays announced in November 2015 that it would not extend its title sponsorship agreement beyond 2016. Nitto is Japan’s leading materials manufacturer offering over 13,500 diversified materials to more than 70 business fields such as electronics, automobiles, ecology and life science.
In 2018, the company will celebrate its 100-year anniversary and the Nitto ATP Finals will form an integral part of its strategic initiatives for increased business and brand value heading into its next century.
Hideo Takasaki, Nitto president, chief executive and chief operating officer, said in a statement: “Featuring the world’s top men’s professional tennis players, the ATP Finals fits very well with Nitto’s philosophy, where we challenge ourselves to gain top share by utilising our unique technology both locally and on a global level.
“As title sponsor, we hope to accelerate our global brand promotion this year, and for our 100th anniversary in 2018, and beyond. By sponsoring the ATP Finals, we at Nitto also aim to further increase the popularity of tennis, and we look forward to the emergence of new star players competing in the event.”
The ATP Finals welcome more than 250,000 fans to The O2 arena each year as the ATP’s best eight singles players and doubles teams compete over eight days. This year the tournament will be held from November 12-19.