Professors offer insight into importance of professional tennis to Connecticut

The state of Connecticut is taking action to preserve professional tennis in New Haven amid speculation in recent months that New Haven Open tournament might move. An announcement on the future of the tennis tournament has been scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 10.

Rich Hanley, associate professor of journalism and director of the graduate journalism program at Quinnipiac University, is available to comment.

“The state is moving to protect its investment in the tennis center where the tournament takes place,” said Hanley. “Without the tournament, the facility would have no purpose despite millions of tax dollars spent to build it and later to refurbish it. There is also a sense typical of states and municipalities that pro sports are necessary to present a big-league image to make the place attractive to business. That’s why the state is interested in keeping the pro tennis tournament in New Haven and the pro golf tournament in Cromwell.”

Molly Yanity, assistant professor of journalism at Quinnipiac, is also available to comment.

“Without a major professional team in immediate proximity, the state should be particularly interested in keeping this event in New Haven,” said Yanity.

“There is some buzz about women’s tennis, particularly with the Williams sisters still going strong, and there is a marketing demographic here to tap. When considering tennis, the marketing demographic is everything. At the US Open, for example, the main sponsors aren’t Bud Light and Taco Bell, like you see with the NFL. Rather, the sponsors are higher-end corporations like Citizen watches, big banks, Mercedes, Heineken and Ralph Lauren. Given the market demographics of Connecticut, this partnership between the state and the ATP makes sense. The big local sponsors have been Yale, the Yale-New Haven Hospital and First Niagara. With a target audience that is highly educated and has some expendable income, this sponsorship opportunity makes some sense – and it gives the state some professional sporting culture.”

Molly Yanity teaches, among other things, sports-media-culture and reporting for the Web. She covered sports for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer from 2001-2009, was a regular on sports talk radio in Seattle and Spokane, and received her PhD in mass communication from Ohio University in 2013. She has also been published in the International Journal of Sport Communication and the Chronicle of Higher Education.

To speak to Hanley or Yanity, please call John Morgan, associate vice president for public relations at Quinnipiac, at 203-206-4449 (cell).

Categories: School of Communications

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