Season-ending WTA Finals may eventually land in unexpected location

WTA, under fire for potentially taking the year-end event to Saudi Arabia, may give it a long-term USA home

Fred Mullane/ISI Photos/GettyImages
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While it may seem unusual to talk about the WTA's year-end event at the beginning of the season, it is not in the case of the WTA Finals. The WTA Finals celebrates the year's top eight ranked singles and doubles WTA players. In 2022, it was held in Fort Worth, Texas, and in 2023, Cancun hosted the rain-soaked and hastily-planned event.

Officials built a court on a Cancun golf course because the WTA made a last-ditch decision not to take the event to Saudi Arabia. Chris Evert was one of the several current or former players who had a problem with Saudi Arabia given the state of women's rights in the country.

The latest rumored location could be a US-based one at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. Charlotte was attempting to get the Western & Southern Open permanently moved from Cincinnati into a yet-to-be-constructed complex in the River District but failed to do so.

Charlotte is the potential long-term destination

Before fans begin to book their flights, it is worth noting that the WTA may not designate Charlotte as the host city until 2027. The Spectrum Center facilities will be renovated and completed sometime in 2025. That means the WTA Finals may need to find a three-year home for 2024, 2025, and 2026 events in the interim.

Without knowing the extent of the renovations or how disruptive they would be for holding the 2024 event, Charlotte may still be a better short-term option than building a court on a golf course (during hurricane season) that players had limited time to practice on which was part of the Cancun nightmare scenario.

One thing is for certain. The WTA has to do a better job planning and executing the 2024 WTA Finals. Selecting a location, interim or permanent, at the beginning of the season is preferred. At the 2023 US Open last fall, the location was still not selected, and players were unhappy about the lack of information available seven weeks before the event.

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