Cleveland’s professional sports landscape will have a new look this summer as some of the top women tennis players in the world come to town for the inaugural Cleveland Championships, a WTA 250 event. Owned and managed by Cleveland-based sports agency Topnotch Management, the one-week tournament will feature some of the top stars of the game from August 22-28th as they make final preparations for the US Open.
Part of the prestigious US Open Series of summer tennis events in the United States, the tournament marks the biggest women’s sporting event in Northeastern Ohio and will connect Cleveland to the highest levels of the sport on an annual basis. Held at Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica in Flats West Bank, the stadium court will be constructed under the pavilion with stunning views of the river and downtown, with the construction of five additional courts completing the overall venue.
“The opportunity here is to build a long-lasting event that changes the Cleveland sports landscape and shapes the community in an enduring way", said Kyle Ross, Tournament Director of the event. "Cleveland has never had an annual women’s sporting event of this level, and through the platform of the WTA Tour we can not only introduce the city to world-class tennis, but we can introduce the tennis world to the city of Cleveland."
With 54 total matches across the week-long event, a field of 32 singles players and 16 doubles teams will entertain fans as they compete for $300k in prize money and valuable WTA rankings points. The stadium court will have a capacity of 3,000+ and offer seating categories from VIP courtside boxes to general admission seats, plus additional viewing at the outside courts, all with great views of the river and city skyline. More than simply a tennis tournament, the event will aim to create a dynamic urban experience: Food trucks. Beer garden. Live music. Farmers market. Art show. Fans should come for the tennis and stay for the show, and the other way around.
Beyond the significant local economic impact of the event, the tournament presents an opportunity to support the community on a number of levels and will work with partners to drive meaningful engagement across diverse local community groups. Through Topnotch’s work with its annual ATP Challenger event held each winter, the tournament has driven more than $15,000 in donations to Advantage Cleveland, a local leader in urban youth development through tennis and education. The Cleveland Championships will create opportunities to continue to grow these efforts.
“Our community is ready to welcome the annual Women’s Tennis Association 250 event to The Land,” said David Gilbert, President and CEO of Greater Cleveland Sports Commission. “The Flats West Bank will showcase our skyline and provide a beautiful backdrop as over 60 million US households and beyond tune in to watch the top women athletes compete. With an estimated $2 million in direct spending as well as youth and programming efforts, this event will leave a lasting legacy in our community.”
The event represents a significant step in Topnotch’s path to bring top men’s and women’s professional tennis to the area, first piloting a US Open warm-up exhibition event for a few years up in Stowe, VT, and then exploring the tennis market in Cleveland through the Cleveland Open, an ATP Challenger event at the Cleveland Racquet Club; the Cleveland Championships represents a significant step in Topnotch’s broad efforts to raise the profile of tennis in Cleveland. Between the new WTA tournament and the continued Challenger event, Topnotch is responsible for bringing world-class professional tennis to a city where it hadn’t been for thirty years. This work, combined with the fact that we’re at a time of skyrocketing interest and participation in tennis, means there’s an opportunity to make this moment a pivot point for Cleveland’s engagement with the sport.
With numerous official partners already confirmed, including Greater Cleveland Sports Commission, Destination Cleveland, Medical Mutual, Cleveland Clinic, Great Lakes Brewing Company, Miller Lite and White Claw, support for the inaugural event has been strong and additional partners will be confirmed through the spring. Weeklong courtside boxes are currently on-sale, and individual tickets will go on sale later this spring. Visit www.tennisintheland.com for more information and to sign up for tournament updates.
About Topnotch Management:
Topnotch Management is a sports management agency headquartered in Cleveland, OH, specializing in world-class representation, service and event management in the tennis and soccer industries. TNM shares ownership with Grand Slam Tennis Tours, creating a portfolio of robust global capabilities. For more information visit www.topnotchmanagement.com or on Twitter, @topnotchmgmt.
About the US Open Series
The US Open Series serves as a true “regular season” of summer tennis in North America, linking nine summer WTA and ATP Tour tournaments to the US Open. Featuring a cohesive weekly schedule, the Series centralizes the way tennis is viewed in North America, across multiple television and digital platforms. Fans will see today’s top champions go head-to-head with tomorrow’s emerging stars, as storylines develop throughout the summer season. Each tournament also engages its local community with a variety of outreach initiatives, including grass-roots youth tennis clinics and activities.