Swiss Indoors forced to drop tobacco sponsor after 17 years, under pressure from ATP
BASEL, Switzerland – One of world sport's last tobacco sponsorships is ending, at the Swiss Indoors tennis event in Roger Federer's hometown of Basel.
Tournament organizers said the 2010 event in November will be the last of a 17-year partnership with tobacco brand Davidoff.
The 2010 event is set to feature Federer — who worked as a ball boy at the tournament as a child — defending champion Novak Djokovic from Serbia, and Andy Roddick of the United States.
The ATP World Tour, which controls the event's international TV deals, said Tuesday it had to follow different countries' laws on tobacco advertising.
"The ATP doesn't set these restrictions, but of course complies with them and expects our tournaments to, as well," the tour said in a statement.
Swiss Indoors officials said they had to comply when the ATP said the existing sponsorship could not be extended.
"It's only in June this year that the ATP informed that, because of the advertising restrictions regarding tobacco, the tournament could no longer be played under this name," tournament organizers said in a statement.
The Swiss Indoors was promoted in status last year to an ATP 500 event, giving the tour central control over TV rights.
The 2009 Swiss Indoors was broadcast in 150 countries and had a six-fold increase in ratings, although the sponsor's name was dropped during transmissions.