Qld Govt volleys Brisbane International for four more years

BRISBANE, FEBRUARY 2, 2012 - The just completed Brisbane International tennis tournament has won the backing of the Queensland Government, through its Events Queensland arm, for a further four years.

Acting Premier Andrew Fraser confirmed the State Government would help drive the tournament for another four years, saying this year's event had been a resounding success and reinforced its status as a "must-see event on the Queensland sporting calendar".

"The 2012 tournament has been exceeding all expectations with record crowds and some of the world's best tennis talent taking to the courts," Mr Fraser said.

"Only a year ago, the Queensland Tennis Centre (at Tennyson on the Brisbane River) was impacted by the floods and this week the tournament has been back bigger and better than ever - with an upgraded women's tournament and an impressive international men's field.

"Today's confirmation that we will continue this heightened investment for another four years means the tournament can grow even further into the future, delivering for local and visiting tennis fans alike."

Mr Fraser said last year's tournament, which finished just before the flood peak, still generated an economic boost for the city and more than 67,000 spectators attended.

"Events like this help build resilience in the Queensland tourism industry, attract visitors from interstate and overseas and give a boost to the local economy, businesses and jobs," Mr Fraser said.

"The 2012 tournament has achieved daily record crowds this week. For example, Monday's day-night attendance record of 18,478 smashed the previous day-night Brisbane International attendance record of 13,121 set last year.

"Investing in world class events like the Brisbane International is part of our plan to continue building Queensland's bright future.

"That is why the Queensland Government has increased our investment in events by $83million over four years, bringing the total Events Queensland budget to $174million over the same period."

In 2011, the Queensland Government, through Events Queensland, secured an international bid for an upgrade to the Brisbane International to a Women's Tennis Association (WTA) 'Premier Event'.

The upgrade allows unlimited participation by the world's top tennis players and will deliver the biggest prize pool in Australian tennis outside the Australian Open. It means the prize purse will increase from $655,000 in 2012 to $1million in 2013.

"The Brisbane International has come a long way since its beginning in 2009," Brisbane International tournament director Cameron Pearson said.

"In that time we have seen some of the world's best tennis stars grace Pat Rafter Arena: Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams, Andy Murray, Sam Stosur, Andy Roddick, Robin Soderling, Kim Clijsters, Ana Ivanovic and Justine Henin.

"The event has experienced phenomenal growth over its short history and it has gained a reputation with the players as one of the best events on the tennis calendar. A lot of this has been due to the support of Events Queensland."

Events Queensland CEO John O'Sullivan said the investment in marquee sporting events in Brisbane was complemented by a heightened investment in arts and cultural events.

"Events have a proven track record of delivering a strong return on investment, driving visitation and promoting Brisbane as a destination,"  Mr O'Sullivan said.

"The Brisbane International, combined with other events like Matisse: Drawing Life and Mary Poppins promote the city as an events destination during the holiday period. This is great start to the 2012 calendar - a year which promises to deliver a number of significant sporting, arts and cultural, and business events for Brisbane."

The extra investment in the Brisbane International comes in addition to other upcoming events like the Queensland International Performance Series, Portrait of Spain: Masterpieces from the Prado, 34th International Geological Congress, World Theatre Festival, Mummy: Secrets of the Tomb, the Rugby Union Castrol Edge Welsh Tour and in 2013 the Rugby Union Lions Tour.




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