Peter Lv, General Manager of the Huafa Sports Operations Management
In January 2015, Huafa Group established the WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai (WTA) and right from the very first year, the event has been a great success. Peter’s experience in tournament management covers almost all areas of the event, ranging from product development and brand marketing to large customer sales and event promotion. In 2015, the global value of the event reached USD 327 million and continues to increase each year. In addition to WTA, Peter is also actively exploring new developments which are reflective of his vast range of relationships both domestically and internationally. Peter is fluent in Japanese and English and has an in-depth understanding of the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon operations. In today’s interview, DB finds out what Peter expects from the upcoming WTA tournament and how Peter’s experience enables him to organise a relatively young tournament with the appearance of a tournament that has been running for many years.
DB: 珠海连续多年蝉联中国最宜居城市，在市民的支持下，珠海正朝着“网球之城”的目标发展；作为WTA超级精英赛的承办方，(华发集团)在这方面自然起着关键的作用。您觉得活动成功举办能给珠海的文化旅游业带来怎样的好处？ Zhuhai is ranked the most liveable city in China and with the support of its citizens, aims to be a “Tennis City.” Hosting the WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai naturally plays a crucial role in this. How do you think achieving this status will benefit Zhuhai in terms of tourism?
In recent years, Zhuhai faces a very good opportunity to develop. Last year, the Chinese government announced that Guangdong province will be a new economic area, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. Zhuhai is in a very good location. Once the Hong Kong- Zhuhai- Macau Bridge is built and opened, Zhuhai will be the only inland city that connects with Hong Kong and Macau. In this context, with its unique advantages, this seaside city is gradually exerting itsinfluence.
I have lived in Zhuhai for nearly 30 years and I have paid attention to this city’s development all the time, especially in culture and sports. As we all know, Zhuhai has run the Airshow Exhibition since 1996. After 20 years, the exhibition has great influence at home and abroad. Zhuhai, however, still lacks a world-famous sport event.WTA, however, is the only international sport event in Zhuhai and is the second biggest event hosted here. Around the time of the tournament, we promote tennis in Zhuhai and other cities. We organise “College Tennis Elite Trophy” for colleges in Zhuhai and Macau to take part in. We also run “Tennis goes into campus” and sometimes organise tennis activities in nearly twenty schools in Zhuhai. With our increasing experience, we also provide a training programme for citizens who are interested in tennis. These are the series of activities we run now that tennis is becoming more and more popular in Zhuhai. Many people consequently become interested in tennis and WTA then gives citizens the chance to see high levels of tennis played locally.
Tennis is fashionable around the world. Zhuhai has been named the most liveable city by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and United Nations for the past few years. The pleasant climate in Zhuhai is suitable for people to play tennis all year round. Zhuhai hosts lots of professional tennis events and attracts numerous tennis fans from home and abroad. Due to these events, Zhuhai’s international influence has been increasing, which has a positive impact on Zhuhai’s tourism.
DB: 2016年通过媒体的广泛传播，珠海WTA精英赛获得惊人的媒体价值8.49亿美元，您认为今年这个数值会进一步增长吗？ In 2016, through media and broadcasting coverage, WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai obtained a media value of an astounding USD 849 million. Are you anticipating this value to increase even more this year?
Yes, we expect the media value to increase year by year. We do lots of promotions around the world, in China, in the Guangdong province and in Zhuhai. In the first year, the event was broadcasted in twenty countries and areas. In the second year, it was broadcasted in nearly thirty. This year we expect it to be broadcasted in even more countries. Also, various television channels and media will broadcast our event live. In China, it is broadcasted on CCTV, Guangdong TV, as well as through new media such as IQIYI. Internationally, we reached some elite television channels, like CNN and BBC, to name a few. This ensures that our event can be broadcasted worldwide. In addition, we do a lot of advertising and promoting in Guangdong and Zhuhai and so the media value will increase accordingly.
DB: 运营一个如此大型的活动肯定需要投入大量人力物力和准备工作。 目前为止，你们在筹备这个项目遇到哪些挑战？ Hosting such a big event requires devout work and preparation. What kind of challenges have you encountered so far in the run up to the big event?
To operate this kind of professional tennis tournament, we need to have a reputable appearance. Tennis is not a new sport in the world and Grand Slam has already been running for a hundred years, whereas tennis is a relatively new sport in China, with only twenty to thirty years of history. The biggest challenge for us is how to enhance Zhuhai’s environment for playing tennis. It is easy for big cities like Shanghai and Beijing to increase the occupancy rate and attract business for their large population. On the other hand, it is harder to find sponsors in Zhuhai as it has a population of less than two million people. We need to work harder to provide the environment for people to play tennis and for our event. This will benefit further development of tennis in Zhuhai. Subsequently, we organise events such as “Tennis goes into campus”, “Tennis goes into community”, “College Tennis Elite Trophy” and “Amateur tennis competitions.” Due to the great influence of our event at home and abroad, as well the promotions and activities we do, we get lots of sponsors. Last year, we occupied 87% of the stadium.
DB: 今年是第三年举办珠海WTA超级精英赛，华发集团也在继续努力争取进步。 作为一个如此重要的全球性赛事的其中一部分，可谓书写着珠海的历史，请问您对此有着怎样的感觉？ This will be the third year of the WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai and the Huafa group continue to strive for improvement. How does it feel to be part of such an important global event and to be making Zhuhai history?
I am very proud to operate. Tennis is naturally suited to Zhuhai and we have built a very beautiful tennis stadium here. This year, we will consider what kind of tournaments we will operate in the future. We will continue to promote so that Zhuhai will be known around the world for its tennis. Next year, we might even go to the Grand Slam in Wimbledon for a press conference to communicate with a world-class tennis event. This will not only help us to learn more about mature event operations, but will also help to promote Zhuhai as a “tennis city.” I am proud to have the chance to be a part of this.