UPDATE 1-Tennis-ATP gives tournaments $3 million fee reduction
* ATP cuts tournament fees by $3 million
* Prize money should not be affected, ATP says
(Adds details, sponsorship information, WTA quote)
By Kylie MacLellan
LONDON, March 6 (Reuters) - The ATP is returning around $3 million in fees to tournaments to help ease the effects of the global economic crisis. "In these difficult times the ATP has decided to give the tournaments a reduction in tournament fees to help them financially," a spokesman for the ATP said on Friday.
"This allows the tournaments to take some pressure off their bottom line while waiting for economic circumstances to improve," he said, adding that the total reduction was about $3 million.
The decision was made at an ATP board meeting in January and at the moment applied only to this year, he said.
The ATP World Tour, which this year features 63 tournaments in 31 countries, lost an 11-year sponsorship deal with Mercedes-Benz at the end of 2008.
The luxury car unit decided not to renew the agreement when it expired last year, saying it wanted to shift the focus of its marketing activities to sports such as golf, equestrian events and soccer.
The ATP spokesman said the fee reductions would come from ATP resources, so prize money for the tournaments should not be affected.
A spokesman for the WTA said the women's tour would not be making similar reductions as it was in a healthy position financially, having achieved a 500 percent increase in sponsorship revenues over the past five years.
"The Tour is closely monitoring the impacts of the current economic environment," he added. "We are taking proactive steps to manage expenses and monitor the health of our events."
(Editing by Clare Fallon)
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