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NIGHT TENNIS Miami report

  NIGHT TENNIS :: MIAMI CONFERENCE REPORT

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Sony Ericsson redefined sports marketing this week and revolutionized the way tennis is played and perceived with the U.S. launch of "NIGHT TENNIS" in Miami on Thursday, March 22 and Friday, March 23, to celebrate this year's Sony Ericsson Open tennis championship.

With the aim of engaging a younger audience and capturing the electronic music sub-culture, Sony Ericsson brought the entertainment and excitement of tennis to a more unconventional audience, using an innovative new concept that combines an "ultra-violet" tennis tournament, the world's best DJ acts and a "neon" fashion show – all in the dark! The event made a major impact with consumers and the world's media during the highly anticipated two-day event that attracted a live audience of more than 5,000 people who registered online for free tickets at
www.night-tennis.com

An exclusive media preview on Wednesday, March 21 set the stage for an innovative new platform that would synthesize the sport and entertainment world. The following night, crowds of electronic music enthusiasts united with hoards of devoted tennis fans to witness the U.S. launch of Night Tennis at The Ice Palace Film Studios in downtown Miami. Cheering attendees experienced the co-existence of tennis and electronic dance music, as eight world ranked players took to the court for an illuminating display of tennis in its newest form. Among the list of notable tennis personalities in attendance was two-time French Open champion Gustavo Kuerten, as well as France's Sony Ericsson WTA star Camille Pin, Austria's Stefan Koubek and Ivo Karlovic, Croatia's top ranked player.

Played in pitch black, with UV as the only source of light, players competed in the fast paced tournament format with a new set of rules, developed exclusively for Night Tennis by Sony Ericsson to enhance the game and entertainment experience. Delivered to the audience on a unique 25-foot projection screen, the tournament was played with fully UV reactive balls, court and net, along with player's shirts, skirts and shoes. To complete the incredible sensory experience, house DJs span latest in electronic dance music during play and while the audience danced on the sidelines.
GEN ART introduced the world's first collection of "neon," glow-in-the-dark tennis apparel designed by renowned Miami-based international designer Julian Chang and fashion house Queue, as part of a well choreographed fashion show in between each match. Each designer showed twelve looks over the two days from their sportswear collections including shorts, skirts, cashmere knits, rayon jersey silhouettes, jumpsuits and dresses. Each collection, customized specifically for Night Tennis to show-up under the special UV lighting, will also be available to purchase in select boutiques and online.

Following the first night of the competition, and continuing the high-octane energy of the night, legendary DJ duo Masters At Work made a very rare appearance together to spin a classic set as club goers and tennis fans danced into the early hours. On Friday, number one DJ in the world, Paul Oakenfold, span an incredible set of explosive beats as hundreds of followers spilled-out onto the court after its rapid transformation from playing field to dance floor. Renowned Miami-based DJ duo MURK, gave each night a memorable finale as they span until 4:00am the following morning.

Horacio Rearte from Argentina, with a career high ATP world ranking of 755, emerged victorious at the end of the two-day tournament, as the champion and overall winner of Sony Ericsson Night Tennis Miami. Rearte commented on his victory and first Night Tennis competition: "I am thrilled to be the champion of Night Tennis Miami. When I was first asked to be part of the tournament, I jumped at the opportunity. The standard of tennis has been at an extremely high level and all the players, including myself, have had to adjust our games to conform to the new and exciting Night Tennis rules. After a number of very close matches, I didn't expect to come out on top. I would like to thank Sony Ericsson for allowing me to participate and I hope to be able to defend my title at the next Night Tennis event."

Dee Dutta, CVP and Head of Marketing for Sony Ericsson comments on the success of Night Tennis Miami: "The U.S. launch of Night Tennis has been an overwhelming success. We are bringing the excitement of world-class tennis to a more diverse audience, while utilizing three of the most popular marketing platforms – sport, music and fashion – to package a most unique proposition for our end user. Our aim is to position tennis in its rightful place, as a much cooler, trendier sport than it has previously been portrayed. There is no better location than the magical city of Miami for our U.S. launch of Night Tennis. We are thrilled and grateful to South Florida and to the American public nationwide for embracing the Night Tennis concept.

Our partnership with the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour is the largest and most innovative in the history of the sport. We are making the game more fan friendly, interactive and exciting through music and technology – live bands at events, live scoring and enhanced content to mobile phones."



Paul Oakenfold (photo above), a pioneer of the dance music scene, commented on his involvement with Night Tennis: "I was very intrigued by the whole Night Tennis concept. I think it's great how Sony Ericsson has so successfully combined sport and the electronic music culture in this most unusual way. I was pleased to be given the opportunity to play for the U.S. launch of Night Tennis. I rarely get to play a classic set during Winter Music Conference week, so it was something of a challenge as well as a real night of nostalgia for me and the people of Miami."

Night Tennis was part of Sony Ericsson's sponsored entertainment, competitions and events program running during the week of the Sony Ericsson Open (March 21st –April 1st). Night Tennis Miami is the second Night Tennis event, the first premiered in Madrid during the Sony Ericsson Championships in November 2006.

The Sony Ericsson Open is held at the Tennis Center at Crandon Park, Miami, Florida from March 21 - April 1, 2007. It boasts the strongest full-field of players from both the ATP and Sony Ericsson WTA Tour outside the Grand Slams. 96 men and 96 women in the singles and 32 men's teams and 32 women's teams in the doubles will vie for over $6.9 million in prize money. Defending champions are Roger Federer in the men's singles, Svetlana Kuznetsova in the women's singles, Jonas Bjorkman/Max Mirnyi in the men's doubles and Lisa Raymond/Samantha Stosur in the women's doubles.

Words and photos courtesy of Elliott Stares PR <ESPRInc@gmail.com>

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