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Sydney bidding to host Australian Open- 20 Oct 2008 00:00:00

Sydney has put forward a formal bid to host tennis’ Australian Open when Melbourne’s contract for the tournament expires in 2016.

The event, which typically brings in about £38m in revenue, has been held in Melbourne since 1972, but plans by the New South Wales government to build a new stadium at Sydney's Glebe Island have made the city a hopeful candidate.

Considered one of the biggest sporting events in Australia as well as one of the highest audience drawers of any Grand Slam tournaments, Melbourne is prepared to fight to keep the event in its city.

But with Shanghai, Dubai and Abu Dhabi also allegedly eager to host a Grand Slam event, Tennis Australia's chief executive, Steve Wood said it is imperative that the Australia Open continues to grow and improve.

New South Wales chief executive Geoff Parmenter thinks that Sydney’s new stadium could do contribute to these improvements and that it is an advantage over Melbourne, as it is ‘pretty much the last clear piece of prime harbour-side real estate left.’

In reaction to plans for Sydney’s construction plans Wayne Kayler-Thomson, who heads the Victorian Events Industry Council, said improvements on Melbourne’s own stadium must be made in order to keep the even in the city.

It seems that the two Australian cities are now in a straight battle for the hosting rights to one of tennis’ most lucrative events. Held in the height of the season, this year it achieved the highest-ever attendance record for any Grand Slam tournament of 62,885.

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