What a way to kick-off the holiday season. On December 1st good cheer resonated when it was announced that Wortmann AG had become the new title sponsor of the ATP 500 series grass court tournament in Halle, Westphalia, Germany. The IT brand Terra, whose corporate headquarters is in Hüllhorst, Germany, is the biggest independent computer manufacturer in Europe. The company signed a two-year agreement to fund the Terra Wortmann Open, which will take place June 11-19, 2022. (The name change brought an end to Munich health care provider Noventi’s three year involvement with the event.)
“We are very happy to have found a title sponsor, a corporation from the same region as Halle, and deeply rooted in the area,” Tournament Director Ralf Weber said. “It is a logical partnership which is based on similar values that will realize benefits for both parties.”
Siegbert Wortman, Wortmann AG CEO, admitted, “The ATP tournament has been a sports and social highlight in East Westphalia-Lippe with a global reputation for nearly 30 years. We are proud to be supporting this long-standing event with our commitment now and in the future.”
The Gerry Weber Open, which many in the game referred to as “Halle”, became Germany’s first ATP grass court tournament in 1993. A year later, it became the first international tennis event in Europe featuring a closeable center court roof. In 2015, the championship moved from a 250 level to a 500 series competition. With 110,000 spectators annually, it is the country’s best attended tennis tournament. Even more significant, it is broadcast to more than 150 countries worldwide.
The name change indicates the high level of cooperation that exists among the sixteen regional companies, including Wortmann AG, that joined forces in 2020 to become OWL Sport & Event GmbH & Co. KG, the ATP 500 series tournament organizer.
As a company owner from Bielefeld, the nearest big city, offered, “The Wortmann family owns the Terra computer company. They are ‘unusual’ computer businesspeople which is something I have never said before, but when you meet the executives, they aren’t pretentious. They act like they own a large farm. Yet they are extremely successful with everything they do.”
Having attended the tournament since its inception, he added, “When they bought majority ownership of the stadium and the hotel company, I thought it was quite clear that they would also ‘take over’ the tournament. So all in all, it was pretty straight forward. It was no surprise for me.”
After having to contend with financial issues during the final years of the Gerry Weber Open, the attitude throughout Westphalia is now upbeat. As a knowledgeable local observer offered, “It is a good thing that the tournament survived at all. Now with Wortmann’s backing, I don‘t foresee any cash issues in the coming years…”
Ralf Weber concluded, “The sponsor’s economic support for 2022 has been set and we are looking forward to staging the twenty-ninth championship and making it a very special tournament, which, thanks to spectators returning to the stands, will again live up to its historic tradition.”