Shanghai Tennis Masters attendance increases by 20 per cent

SHANGHAI, CHINA - OCTOBER 06: Roger Federer of Switzerland speaks to media at 2019 Rolex Shanghai Masters on Day 2 at Qi Zhong Tennis Centre on October 6, 2019 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Fred Lee/Getty Images)

The 2019 Shanghai Tennis Masters drew 150,000 attendees to the Qizhong Tennis Centre, up 20 per cent compared to last year, according to organisers.

The event introduced new initiatives this year aimed at improving ticket sales, including a new ticket-vending mechanism and separate day and night session tickets.

Yang Yibin, vice-general manager of event organiser Juss Sports Group, said: “The mechanism has proved to be a success. Day-session tickets sold better than what we expected, and the total ticket receipts saw a 30-per-cent increase from last year.

“Those who were only able to make it to the evening matches could get a night-session ticket at a cheaper price than a whole-day ticket, while day-session tickets went into the hands of those who could make it. The increase in audience numbers obviously benefits our sponsors, as well.”

Sponsors for the Shanghai Tennis Masters include Swiss watchmaker Rolex, which is the title sponsor; global financial services firm JP Morgan, which is a diamond-category sponsor; and Chinese dairy company Bright Dairy, a patron-category sponsor. The next tier of prestige-level sponsors includes German automobile brand Mercedes Benz, Dutch brewing company Heineken, Chinese commercial bank China Construction Bank, Dubai-based airline Emirates, courier FedEx and Chinese mineral water brand Ganten Water.

The event, which ran from October 6 to 13, is Asia’s only ATP Masters 1000 tournament. This year was its eleventh edition.

Yang said the tournament was becoming less reliant on the success of stars like Roger Federer, who is hugely popular in China, to ensure strong ticket sales. Federer made it to the quarter-final this year. Yang said: “We have cultivated a mature fan base. A lot of fans would arrange their time according to our schedule and book tickets early no matter who they would see. They have shown recognition for the tournament and the sport itself.”

He added that 20 per cent of attending fans this year were from outside Shanghai, and half of these were from overseas: “We have also been inviting journalists from Europe, Singapore, and some Southeast Asian countries that we value as important tennis markets for Shanghai so as to increase the influence of our tournament. The Shanghai event has also become a model for domestic tennis tournament organisers, who send their representatives to learn from us.”