Jul 27, 2009 at 04:11 PM
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Tennis Needs Titles.. STAT

As the hardcourts heat up, so too are the discussions for title sponsorship of tennis' elite events. At least that's what USTA officials are hoping.

Mark Ambrogi of the Indianapolis Star today reports that the officials of the former RCA Tennis Championships (now dubbed Indianapolis Tennis Championships) have been in discussions for months with a title sponsor for next year's tournament.

Without it there won't be a tournament in Indianapolis next year warns tournament director Kevin Martin. RCA had titled the event for 15 years, prior to reducing its relationship to a supporting sponsor in 2006. For the past two years, Eli Lilly, who considered the title back in 2006, has been presenting sponsor.

Nevertheless, Martin is optimistic about the tournament's chances for a new title.

"I'm very confident we have a great shot to keep this running for years to come," Martin told the Indianapolis Star. "I feel more confident today than I did two months ago because of the progress we've made in the discussions."

Title sponsors are critically important to the Olympus U.S. Open Series' attempt to unify the summer hardcourt season - now in its sixth season. Indianapolis is not alone in its search. The L.A. Tennis Open starts today on the campus of UCLA without a title sponsor. Bank of America inherited the sponsorship when they acquired Countrywide before deciding to let the contract expire in 2008 amid the global financial crisis.

“Things like the Masters, Wimbledon – they don’t have a title sponsor,” tournament director Bob Kramer told the Daily Bruin. “I think in our case, it’s probably necessary to really continue financially to be viable because basically a title sponsor is approximately 30 percent of our total revenue stream.”

Who's your money on for title sponsorships of Indianapolis and LA?