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Women's tennis tournament is moving away from Carson

Event held last seven years at Home Depot Center will shift next summer to La Costa.

September 03, 2009|Bill Dwyre

NEW YORK — The women's pro tennis tournament held at the Home Depot Center in Carson the last seven years will move to San Diego County next summer.

Pending a site inspection, the tournament will be played at the La Costa resort in Carlsbad, starting Aug. 2. That will immediately follow a tournament played annually at Stanford. San Diego and La Costa had a popular women's tour stop for 24 years, until it was purchased by the WTA Tour and closed after the 2007 event.

The Carson event was owned jointly by AEG, which owns and operates the Home Depot Center and Staples Center, and by the U.S. Tennis Assn. It has been purchased by Octagon, a sports management group long active in tennis.

AEG gave Octagon an option to keep the event at Carson, but Octagon decided to go back to San Diego and La Costa.

The final decision on the sale and event transfer was made in WTA Tour meetings at the U.S. Open on Wednesday and probably will be made official today or Friday with the release of the 2010 tournament calendar.

Dan Beckerman, chief operating officer of AEG, said late Wednesday that because the Carson event was a Tier II tournament, it was difficult to attract enough top players to be a big attraction in Los Angeles.

"It was hard to secure a title sponsor," Beckerman said, "and there didn't seem to be many prospects on the horizon."

The Carson tournament, the only one without a title sponsor on the WTA Tour this season, was won by Flavia Pennetta of Italy, whose ranking went to No. 12 with that victory early last month.

The La Costa tournament next summer will offer $700,000 in prize money and be part of what the WTA calls the premier level. Within that premier level, it will be one of 11 offering $700,000, with the other nine, including the women's portion of the Indian Wells BNP Paribas Open, paying more.

When the La Costa tournament was purchased by the WTA Tour two years ago, it was done so to accommodate a schedule shift called the Roadmap. Also losing an event in that shuffle was Octagon, which retained an option for the next event that came available. AEG made it clear that it wanted to sell and it negotiated directly with Octagon, as well as several other bidders.

AEG had purchased the tournament from another management group, IMG, which held the event at Manhattan Beach. For years, the WTA had tour stops in Manhattan Beach and San Diego, then Carson and San Diego.

Now, there will no longer be a women's tournament in greater Los Angeles, at least for the foreseeable future.

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bill.dwyre@latimes.com.

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