AIG Irish Tennis Open Heads South

The 2018 AIG Irish Open Tennis Championships will be held in Carrickmines Tennis Club, Dublin from July 29th to August 5th. The move from Fitzwilliam Tennis Club in Dublin was to accommodate building works though they have yet to commence.

Carrickmines, supported by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council hosted an ITF Futures event last year and is well equipped to stage the premier tennis tournament in the country. It is believed that the Open will return to Fitzwilliam next year.

This is the second year that AIG has sponsored the Irish Open Tennis Championships which has seen the tournament revamped, both the men’s and ladies matches included and live TV coverage of the finals secured.

Staging the tournament is a major undertaking with costs running to between €100,000 and €125,000.

Prizemoney is €25,000 in the Men’s tournament and €15,000 in the Women’s, a discrepancy which no longer exists at Grand Slam level but does remain in place through most other levels of tennis.

Participation

That is ironic given it is a sport which is very gender neutral when it comes to player participation and one of the few, through mixed doubles, where Men and Women get to play against each other.

The costs of meeting strict International Tennis Federation criteria, including overseas judges, accommodation and tournament facilities all add up but it is important to make a statement of intent in relation to a place on the world stage and Ireland has a number of young players coming through the ranks including Simon Carr, Georgia Drummey who made it to a Quarter Final of the Mixed Doubles at Wimbledon’s Junior tournament last week and Ammar Elamin an exciting prospect coming out of Mullingar.

AIG has a long association with tennis in Ireland, having a partner relationship with Tennis Ireland and previously sponsoring the Irish Davis Cup Team.

“AIG is delighted to continue our commitment to the development of tennis in Ireland. We look forward to another exciting AIG Irish Open Tennis Championships this year,” said AIG General Manager in Ireland Declan O’Rourke

“At AIG we have a strategy for our sponsorship portfolio of partnerships to cover a range of demographics from elite to grassroots and those properties we have with the AIG Irish Open Tennis and Irish Golf fit neatly into our overall approach and strategy,” said AIG Sponsorship Executive Rebecca Claffey speaking to Sport for Business yesterday.

“Bringing the Women’s Open back last year was important to AIG as we seek to promote women’s sport as was securing TV coverage of both finals at Carrickmines on August 5th.”

Viewership

“TG4 produced a great programme last year, were a pleasure to have on board and generated viewership that was over 130,000.”

“The tennis finals day will be a very busy day for the AIG sponsorship team and a stretch on resource as Dublin will also be playing the final game of the All Ireland Super 8’s against Roscommon plus we are running a new special initiative that day you will hear about soon but we will make it all work smoothly.”

“We are delighted to be staging this year’s tournaments in Carrickmines,” said tennis Ireland CEO Richard Fahey.

“It gives Irish tennis players a great opportunity to earn world ranking points on home soil. We encourage all tennis fans across Ireland to come along to Carrickmines to enjoy some top-quality tennis and support Ireland’s top tennis players.”

“Carrickmines is delighted following our recent major investments in the club to be hosting for the first time in our over 100-year history, this year’s AIG Irish Open Tennis Championships,” added Club President Alan Looney.

“We are looking forward to welcoming the top male and female Irish players and their supporters to our club later this summer.”

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Image Credit: Ramsey Cardey, Sportsfile

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