Organizers expect better coverage, attendance


WIMBLEDON, England -- The WTA Tour is moving its season-ending championships from Los Angeles to Madrid, Spain, next year in a bid to boost the event's profile.

It's just the second time in the 30-plus years of the championships that they will be held outside the United States.

The $3 million tournament features the top eight women in singles and four doubles teams. This year's championships will be in November at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, where attendance has been spotty the past three years.

"One of the key reasons for a move from Los Angeles to Europe was to broaden the media exposure," WTA chief executive officer Larry Scott said Thursday. "The time zones are difficult. Even the media on the East Coast of the U.S., as well as the whole of the European media, felt a bit shut out from the championships."

New York and Rotterdam, Netherlands, were the other finalists for hosting the 2006 event. A decision has not been made on 2007 and beyond.

The 2006 tournament will be run by former player Manuel Santana, who won four major titles.

Since starting in 1972, the season-ending championships have been held in Boca Raton, Fla.; Los Angeles; Oakland; New York; and -- in 2001 -- Munich, Germany.

Scott said the WTA would consider moving its championships to Asia in the future.

The men's season-ending tournament begins a three-year run in Shanghai, China, this November. It was in Houston the past two