The ATP confirmed this morning that London’s tenure as the host of the end-of-year finals will end in 2020. As predicted by the Telegraph last week, Turin will take over as the 15th city in the 50-year history of the event.
With a capacity of up to 16,000 – depending how it is configured – Turin’s Pala Alpitour is the largest indoor sporting stadium in Italy and will be able to offer a close approximation to the O2 Arena, which has delivered record crowds over the last 12 years.
The city emerged from a five-name shortlist that also included London, Manchester, Singapore and Tokyo. According to Italian sources, Turin’s mayor Chiara Appendino was so keen to win the bid that she offered to underwrite the event with a E15m annual guarantee.
The financial element of the deal is important because the ATP Finals have recently been raising 15 per cent of the ATP’s revenues, which stood at US$144m in the last financial year. The O2 Arena hosted close to 35,000 fans on most days, with two separate sessions each comprising one singles match and one doubles. It’s not yet known whether Turin will echo that format.
Prizemoney for players is to increase by more than half, from £9m next year to £14.5m in 2021. This may be partly in response to the well-funded WTA Finals, which are to pay out £14m when they are staged in Shenzhen, China, in October for the first time this year.
The change of venue will be a loss for British tennis, particularly as the ATP Finals have offered a very different image to the strawberries-and-cream vibe of Wimbledon and Queen’s – the two highest-profile events to be staged here.
In a statement, the Lawn Tennis Association expressed their disappointment at the decision and added “We are disappointed that the ATP Finals will move from London in 2021. We have been fortunate to have had such a fabulous tournament staged in this country for so long and it has been a great asset to tennis in Britain.”
The statement added that the LTA believes that “events play an important role in increasing visibility of our sport and inspiring people to pick up a racket”, and cited new tournaments in Shrewsbury and Glasgow this year as well as the successful Fed Cup ties at Bath University and the Copper Box Arena.”
The ATP Finals has always been a nomadic event, with Madison Square Gardens in New York serving as the longest individual host when it put in a 13-year term in the 1970s and 80s.
Novak Djokovic, the president of the ATP player council, has been calling for a change of scene since 2014 – even though he was in the middle of a four-year winning streak at the O2 Arena at that stage.
“The ATP Finals is the biggest and most prestigious event that we have at the ATP,” said Djokovic in a statement. “It’s a tournament that has historically moved around and so I’m very excited to see it move to Turin from 2021.”
Published by “Telegraph “