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  • Tour becomes first major league to fully embrace social media via one-stop hub for biggest stars in women’s tennis
  • Unprecedented athlete accessibility, on and off the court, to be hallmark of platform

MIAMI, FloridaThe WTA Tour and Sony Ericsson jointly announced today the launch of SuperFans (www.WTASuperFans.com) – a groundbreaking social media channel that will live online across the Tour, player, tournament and Sony Ericsson digital and mobile platforms and will become the destination for women’s tennis fans across the globe to get closer than ever before to players. Harnessing the power of social media and the enormous worldwide popularity of Tour stars – some of the most followed athletes on Facebook™ and Twitter™ – SuperFans will enable women’s tennis to become the most accessible and fan friendly sport in the world by bringing together into a single hub all of the social media channel conversations and content produced by its players. As the Communication Entertainment brand, Sony Ericsson’s social media expertise, combined with the Tour’s commitment to enhance the fan experience, will ensure that through SuperFans the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour takes fan interactivity, engagement and entertainment to an unprecedented level

“The social media revolution has enabled professional athletes like myself to have a more meaningful two-way dialogue with fans,” said Maria Sharapova, the most followed female athlete in the world. “I love the SuperFans concept, as it makes it easy for fans of women’s tennis to hear from us and talk to us.”

The SuperFans initiative marks the first time that a major sports league has endorsed, promoted and aggregated the social media channels of its athletes, enabling fans to communicate with players on a deeper and more personal level. The Tour’s top social networkers – Venus Williams, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova – have close to 5 million combined followers on the internet.

The SuperFans platform will give fans unprecedented insight into the lives of players, on and off the court, providing a single destination for real-time aggregated and consolidated social media feeds, such as Twitter and Facebook. Fans can either look through all player updates or filter their view by a group or an individual. Any videos and images that the players attach to their social media updates through channels such as YouTube™ and Flickr™ will also appear on the SuperFans site.

Additionally, through SuperFans, players will have the opportunity to interact with each other and tag each other in photos, enriching the dynamic platform. The Sony Ericsson Xperia™ X10 mobile phone will be used by players to create photo, video and text content for SuperFans. Also, SuperFans will provide fans with a live tournament experience at select Tour events, offering tickets to their favorite stars’ most important matches through a series of competitions.

“SuperFans is an innovative way for our players to connect with their fans,” said Stacey Allaster, Chairman and CEO of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour.  “Through the multitude of social media web channels, our sport and players have a fantastic opportunity to create exciting customer experiences.”

“We are pleased that Sony Ericsson mobile technology is enabling the creation of spontaneous social content from some of most inspirational athletes on earth,” said Lennard Hoornik, Head of Global Marketing, Sony Ericsson. “For millions of tennis fans around the world, SuperFans is a service that delivers on our brand promise of make.believe, which aims to build a fun, playful and inclusive interaction with consumers. SuperFans will bring audiences closer to tennis, giving them a greater access to unique fan experiences.”

The Tour’s recent advancements in the digital space include the launch of a new mobile WAP site available to fans through their mobile handsets, and the Spanish language version of the Tour’s official website, which joined the Tour’s existing official language websites in English and Chinese. The Russian version of the website will debut later this year.

The Tour worked with AnalogFolk, a leading UK-based digital marketing agency, on development of the SuperFans program. Promotion of the SuperFans program will be supported through a series of viral videos focused on players, filmed during the Sony Ericsson Open and set to be released in late April.

About the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour
The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour is the world’s leading professional sport for women with more than 2,225 players representing 91 nations competing for more than $86 million in prize money at the Tour’s 53 events and four Grand Slams in 33 countries. More than 4.9 million people attended women’s tennis events in 2009 with millions more watching on television networks around the world. The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour season concludes with the Sony Ericsson Championships – Doha 2010 in Doha, Qatar, from October 26-31, and the Commonwealth Bank Tournament of Champions in Bali, Indonesia, from November 4-7. Further information on the Tour can be found on the Internet at www.sonyericssonwtatour.com

About Sony Ericsson

Sony Ericsson is a 50/50 joint venture by Sony and Ericsson established in October 2001, with global corporate functions located in London and operations in major markets around the world. Sony Ericsson’s strategy is to become the industry leader in Communication Entertainment, through new styles of interaction across the internet and social media. Sony Ericsson offers exciting consumer experiences through through innovative and feature rich phones, accessories, content and applications.

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