The Chennai Open, which is being held at the Nungambakkam Stadium from January 2-8, 2006, has attracted the who’s who of corporate Chennai as sponsors. With the tennis championship being India’s only ATP Tour event, there is considerable hype and hoopla surrounding the tournament.
Some of the most prominent corporate houses in Chennai are sponsoring the Chennai Open tennis tournament and marketing Chennai as a brand across the world. These include Indian Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, United India Insurance, Chennai Petroleum Corporation Ltd, Larsen & Turbo, Murugappa Group, Saint-Gobain, Steel Authority of India Ltd, and MyTVS.
Brand ‘Chennai’ will be given unprecedented exposure with the event, which is being telecast all over the world. The matches will be telecast on STAR Sports in the India sub-continent, including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Maldives, and Bhutan.
The telecast rights of $400,000 has been awarded to the premier broadcaster by IMG, who owns and organises Chennai Open. IMG’s television division, TWI, the world’s largest independent distributor and producer of televised sports, is responsible for producing the programming for Chennai Open.
Europe will be covered through programming on Euro Sports 2, which would reach over 40 countries across the continent, including the UK, Germany, Holland, Norway, Russia, Denmark, Switzerland, Austria, and Israel.
For South America (excluding Brazil), Central America and Mexico, Fox Sports would air the semi-finals and finals, while Canal+ would cater to Spain.
This premium event would also feature on Trans World Sports, the world’s most popular sports magazine show reaching 260 million households in over 131 countries worldwide. SNTV, the world’s only dedicated sports news TV agency, which reaches 850 million people worldwide, will be running highlights of the Chennai Open every day of the week-long tournament.
Earlier known as the Gold Flake Open and then the Tata Open, the event is now christened as the Chennai Open. Following the sponsorship tenure with Tata Group coming to an end, the Tamil Nadu government along with the Tamil Nadu Tennis Association (TNTA) put together a consortium of sponsors to have the event continue in Chennai.
This year for the first time, a unique programme was launched by TNTA and IMG, wherein six promising young junior tennis players from Tamil Nadu got the chance to train for a six-week period at the world-renowned Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy under the guidance of the legendary coach Nick Bollettieri.
Other interesting aspects of the event are former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash coming down to conduct coaching for promising youngsters as well as provide commentary for the matches. Joining him in the commentator’s box will be India’s Leander Paes, who will be playing this unique role apart from competing for the doubles title.
In 2004, when Chennai witnessed a devastating tsunami, various initiatives were undertaken by the event for Chennai’s rehabilitation efforts. This year, the event will commence with a fundraiser, where Ashish Soni, India’s first designer to be invited to the prestigious New York Fashion Week, will be showcasing this exclusive collection during Chennai Open. Soni’s charity fashion show will raise funds for the Chief Minister’s Public Relief Fund. Top players of the tournamant will walk the ramp followed by an auction of Soni’s creations. IMG will kickstart the charity drive by purchasing 20 donation passes.
Ravi Krishnan, Managing Director, IMG/TWI and Senior Vice-President, IMG, said, “We are extremely grateful to Ashish Soni for consenting to our request to showcase his premium collection. This is an extension of IMG’s commitment to the Chennai Open and the cause of Tamil Nadu’s welfare. We are certain that a large number of Chennaites will take this opportunity to express their solidarity and make this charity show a great success.”
Rafael Nadal, the World No. 2 player, who was scheduled to play but dropped out because of injury, has also donated $25,000 to the Chief Minister's Public Relief Fund for the tsunami rehabilitation.
The event poses many benefits for Chennai through a boost in industries such as tourism, hospitality and travel. To make the most of this event, other lifestyle events and launches from sponsors will also coincide with this tournament.