Bear Market

Chart Of The Day: Bullard Bulls#*t

October 17, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Zero Hedge

Welcome to the Dow-Data-DependentTM Fed. Because What a difference 1,100 Dow points makes!


October 9th:

“When there is a mismatch between what the central bank is thinking and the market is thinking, that sometimes doesn’t end well, because there can be a surprise later on,” Mr. Bullard told reporters.


Right now, “the markets are making a mistake” and expect the Fed to maintain its ultra-easy policy stance longer than Fed officials themselves currently expect, Mr. Bullard said. When it comes to these expectations, “I would prefer that those be better aligned than they are.”


We should act on good news. We’ve got a pretty good performing economy. We should be willing to remove some accommodation,” and it would be better to get this process started and not wait too long, he said.

October 16th:

Mr. Bullard said Thursday that “U.S. macroeconomic fundamentals remain strong” and his forecast for 3% annualized growth in the second half of 2014?remains intact.”


“Inflation expectations are dropping in the U.S., and that is something that a central bank cannot abide,”


“We could just end the program in December. But if the market’s right and this is portending something more serious for the U.S. economy, then the committee would have an option of ramping up QE at that point.”

*  *  *

And this is who Americans ‘entrust’ the planning of an entire economy to?

So is it a Dow-Data-Dependent-Fed?

More articles from Zero Hedge….

“Save Our Swiss Gold ” – Game Changer For Gold?

October 17, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Zero Hedge

“Save Our Swiss Gold ” – Game Changer For Gold?

by Ronan Manly, GoldCore Consultant

– Foreword
– Introduction
– Success of Swiss People’s Party (SVP)
– Direct Democracy and Popular Initiatives
– Petition Filing
– Initiative Launch
– Motivation for the Initiative
– Gathering the People’s 100,000 Signatures
– Gold Initiative Gets Over 107,000 Signatures
– Selling The Swiss Family’s Gold 

Swiss Flag in the Swiss Alps


We believe that the “Save Our Swiss Gold” campaign has the potential to be a game changer in the gold market – both in terms of the ramifications for the current global monetary system and in terms of higher gold prices. 

There has been a lack of coverage of this important story and there is therefore a lack of awareness about the possible implications for the gold market. Thus, in the weeks prior to the referendum on November 30th, we are going to analyse the referendum, the important context to the referendum and the ramifications of a yes or a no vote.
– Mark O’Byrne, Head of Research GoldCore


In less than six weeks, on November 30th a federal referendum is being put to the Swiss electorate, which, if it passes, will have very significant ramifications for the Swiss currency and the global gold market.

If it passes it will force the Swiss National Bank to substantially increase Switzerland’s monetary gold reserves and make it harder for Swiss monetary policy to informally peg the value of the Swiss Franc to the Euro below 1.20.

Even if it does not pass, it has the potential to be a “wedge issue” and lead to a fractious debate about gold and monetary policy in a leading industrial nation. This has the potential to create a new found awareness of gold’s importance as a monetary asset and as a safe haven asset.

The upcoming referendum on Switzerland’s gold has evolved via a Swiss popular initiative, which is a form of direct democracy campaigning by citizens in Switzerland. In this case, the initiative is called the “Save Our Swiss Gold (Gold Initiative)”.

To really understand the “Save Our Swiss Gold (gold Initiative)” and the upcoming Swiss gold referendum on 30 November, it’s important to understand how this initiative arose and what its motivations are.

It’s also important to understand the Swiss political system, since this provides a framework to explain how the initiative proceeded through the Swiss political system to a referendum, and how the referendum voting system works in the Swiss Confederation.
Success of Swiss People’s Party (SVP)

The Swiss gold initiative was launched by members of the Swiss People’s Party (SVP) in 2011. Politically, the SVP is considered to be a conservative or right-wing nationalist populist party, although it’s also known as the Union Démocratique du Centre in French (Democratic Union of the Centre).

Ideologically, the SVP is nationalist, conservative, Eurosceptic and against mass immigration. The SVP were the party that successfully brought the anti-immigration popular initiative to a successful referendum outcome in Switzerland in February 2014. This happened despite the majority of the Swiss body politic and Switzerland’s other political parties calling for a ‘no’ vote in that referendum. 

This highlights the fact that popular referendum results in Switzerland do not necessarily follow party voting lines.

The SVP grew to be the largest political party in Switzerland in the late 1990s, with a notably strong power base in German speaking Zurich, and it continued to strengthen across Switzerland in the 2000s. 

Currently, the SVP has one elected representative on Switzerland’s seven member governing Federal Council, 5 representatives in the upper house of parliament, and 54 representatives (the largest grouping) in the lower house of parliament.
Direct Democracy and Popular Initiatives  

Switzerland’s political system is world renowned for including many of the features of direct democracy including direct initiatives and referenda. Initiatives are campaigns via a petition which aim to bring a proposal to a vote by an electorate.

In Switzerland, a ‘popular initiative’ is a form of initiative that can be activated by Swiss citizens to propose a change to a law. 

According to the Swiss Federal Administration, popular initiatives are the driving force behind direct democracy. Since the Swiss political system is structured along federal, cantonal, and communal (municipal) lines, there can be federal popular initiatives, as well as popular initiatives on a canton and commune level [1].

Federal Palace of Switzerland

Federal popular initiatives aim to change an aspect of the Federal Constitution. Cantonal popular initiatives aim to change an aspect of that canton’s constitution (each canton has its own constitution in addition to the Federal Constitution).

Switzerland is a Confederation made up of 26 cantons and half-cantons and over 2,600 communes (local communities) [2].

A canton is analogous to a state of the Confederation. On the cantonal level, there are 20 full cantons and 6 half-cantons, a point which comes into play in federal referendums under the concept of ‘double majority’, which is explained below. The 6 half-cantons were created at various times in Swiss history when three previous full cantons each split in half.

The requirement of a federal popular initiative calls for the collection of more than 100,000 signatures among the Swiss electorate over an 18 month period in order to advance the popular initiative to a federal referendum [3].

Petition Filing

The SVP filed their initiative petition with the Swiss Government on 26 August 2011, and a preliminary review of the initiative was approved on 6 September 2001 by the Federal Chancellor, Corina Casanova, who concluded that “the title of the Swiss federal popular initiative ‘Save our Swiss Gold (Gold) initiative’ meets the legal requirements of Article 69 Paragraph 2 of the Federal Act of 17 December 1976.”

As part of the legal process for federal popular initiatives, the text of the initiative was then published on 20 September 2011 in an official government publication called the Federal Gazette. At that time, the Federal Chancellery listed 17 creators and authors of the initiative, namely:

Toni Bortoluzzi, Yvette Estermann, Hans Fehr, Sylvia Flückiger, Patrick Joyous, Oskar Freysinger, Thomas Fuchs, Andrea Geiss Buhler, Alfred Army, Hans Kaufmann, Lukas Reimann, Ernst Shibli, Ulrich Schlüer, Jürg Stahl, Luzi Stamm, Christoph von Rotz, and Walter Wobmann [4].
Initiative Launch

The Swiss gold initiative was launched by the SVP at a press conference on 20th September 2011, in Bern where it was stated that the initiative had been launched by four members of the Swiss parliament, including SVP National Councillor Luzi Stamm.

The title of the initiative was, at that time, stated to be “Gold Initiative: A Swiss Initiative to Secure the Swiss National Bank’s Gold Reserves”, although the official name of the initiative was filed as ‘Save Our Swiss Gold initiative’. 

Luzi Stamm stated that there were three parts of the initiative, namely:
– The gold of the Swiss National Bank must be stored physically in Switzerland
– The Swiss National Bank does not have the right to sell its gold reserves
– The Swiss National Bank must hold at least twenty percent (20%) of its total assets in gold.
Motivation for the Initiative

The SVP said at their launch campaign that they had various motivations in launching the initiative. 

Firstly, given that the European Central Bank and Federal Reserve had rapidly expanded their money supplies, thereby devaluing the Euro and the US dollar, this impacted the relative strength of the Swiss Franc, and put pressure on the Swiss Franc to also devalue. 

To counteract these pressures, holding a certain percentage of reserves in gold would allow the Swiss Franc to act as a strong, gold-backed currency, and constrain its devaluation.

Secondly, according to the SVP, Switzerland’s gold had always been considered to be the “property of the Swiss people”. 

This historical right was severed in 2000 via a Constitutional change, after which the Swiss National Bank proceeded to sell 1,550 tonnes of the country’s original 2,590 tonnes of gold reserves. 

The SVP maintain that selling these gold reserves was a mistake and that the Swiss National Bank and Swiss politicians should not have this right to sell the nation’s gold.

Lastly, to increase transparency, the SVP reasoned that the Swiss National Bank should be forced to reveal where the Swiss gold reserves are located and to repatriate any gold reserves held abroad back to Switzerland (since at that time in 2011 the Swiss National Bank would not comment on the locations of the remaining gold reserves).

In summary, the SVP said that having transparency and a currency which does not continually devalue would become a model example to other countries and central banks around the world [5].
Gathering the People’s 100,000 Signatures

Article 139 of the Swiss Constitution is titled “Popular Initiative for Partial Revision of the Federal Constitution” and it states that any 100,000 citizens may request a partial revision of the Federal Constitution. Article 139 also details the rules under which a popular initiative proceeds through and is treated by the Federal parliament.

Initiative campaigners request a revision via collecting signatures on an official form, and can collect signatures anywhere, for example in households, workplaces, public places, and at public events. The signatures are then verified locally by local government offices who issue certificates of authenticity for the signature lists [6].

The signatures and their certificates are then handed in to the Federal Chancellery for ‘verification of petitions’.

Credit Suisse Gold Bar

Gold Initiative Gets Over 107,000 Signatures

The Swiss gold initiative committee filed their signatures with the Federal Chancellery on 20 March 2013.

The gold initiative committee and their campaigners managed to collect 107,380 signatures. Of the 107,380 signatures submitted, 106,052 were said to be valid and on 16 April 2013, the Chancellor Corina Casanova deemed that the “Save Our Swiss Gold (gold Initiative)” had arrived at 100,000 valid signatures in accordance with Article 139.

This information was then also published in the Federal Gazette. Given the specific wording of the suggested constitutional change, the initiative was classified as a specific draft as opposed to a general proposal. This is important since a specific draft initiative has to attain a double majority of voters and cantons if it is to pass.

The signatures were collected across all 26 cantons and represent just over 2% of the most recent total electorate figure of 5.22 million Swiss voters. 

Over 27,000 signatures were collected in Zurich, representing 3% of the Zurich electorate, over 15,000 signatures from Bern, representing 2.1% of the Bern electorate, and over 13,300 from Aargau, representing 3.25% of the Aargau electorate.

Aargau is a canton in the north of Switzerland between Basel and Zurich. In total these three cantons represent 40% of the Swiss electorate. Overall the signature total per canton was in the range of 0.22% to 3.32% of the canton electorate total [7].

Selling The Swiss Family’s Gold 

The SVP’s concerns with the previous sale of Swiss gold reserves refers to two distinct periods between 2000 – 2005 when the Swiss National bank sold 1,300 tonnes of gold, and following that, between 2007 -2008, when the Swiss National Bank sold a further 250 tonnes of Swiss gold reserves.

The gold sales between 2000 – 2005 are especially contentious since they arose after a substantial series of legal changes were introduced between 1997 – 1999 by the Swiss government and parliament with substantial advice and planning by the Swiss National Bank.

In 1997 the previous requirement that the Swiss Franc be 40% backed by gold was replaced with a 25% backing, as a precursor to the demonetisation of gold.  

An ‘Expert Group’ compromising Swiss National Bank and Swiss Federal Administration staff then recommended in 1997 that Switzerland should sell 1,300 tonnes of gold.

They did this by revaluing the gold reserves from a historical fixed price to a higher market related price, and then argued that the 2,590 tonne gold holdings was excessive as part of the SNB’s reserve portfolio.

In April 2000, further legal changes occurred for the Swiss currency, when constitutional amendments were passed by the Swiss electorate which severed the link between the Swiss Franc and gold, and dropped the 25% gold backing for the currency.

The Swiss parliament also passed new Federal currency laws which demonetised gold. Taken together, all of these changes then left the door open for the Swiss National Bank to begin gold sales.

The SNB sold 120 tonnes of gold over a six month period from May 2000 until September 2000. This was followed by a sale of 200 tonnes over the following 12 months from October 2000 until September 20)1.

The majority of these sales (220 tonnes) were conducted by the Bank for International Settlements on behalf of the SNB.

The SNB then began direct gold sales, selling 980 tonnes over four years from October 2001 until September 2005. 

In total, this amounted to 1,300 tonnes. Of the total, 730 tonnes were sold to 25 counterparties, with the physical gold sale trades settling at the Bank of England. 

The other 350 tonnes were sold using derivative overlays in tranches of approximately 50 tonnes each. These Swiss gold sales formed part of the first and second Central Bank Gold Agreements on coordinated gold sales.    

The proceeds of the Swiss gold sales were paid out as distributions in the ratio of one third for the Swiss Confederations and two thirds for the cantons. 

The additional 250 tonnes gold sales over the years 2007 and 2008 were said by the Swiss National bank to be due to a need to rebalance the reserve portfolio between currencies and gold.

In total, these sales between 2000 and 2008 amounted to 1550 tonnes of Swiss gold.

End of Part 1

by Ronan Manly, GoldCore Consultant
Editor, Mark O’Byrne, Head of Research


See Essential Guide To Gold and Silver Storage In Switzerland



Today’s AM fix was USD 1,238.00, EUR 966.89 and GBP 769.61 per ounce.
Yesterday’s AM fix was USD  1,241.00, EUR  969.38 and GBP 775.87 per ounce.
Gold climbed $1.70 or 0.14% to $1,239.50 per ounce and silver slipped $0.05 or 0.29% to $17.38 per ounce yesterday.

Gold in U.S. Dollars – 2 Years (Thomson Reuters)

Gold edged higher on Friday and was poised for a second straight week of gains as growing 
fears over the health of the world economy took a toll on global equities and the dollar, leading to safe haven gold buying.

Platinum and palladium were the biggest precious metal gainers of the day, recovering about 2% from sharp overnight losses.
Gold is up about 1.4% for the week after reaching a one-month high of $1,249.30 on Wednesday. 

Gold has seen safe haven buying along with U.S. Treasuries on increasing concerns over financial markets, the Eurozone, the emergence of Ebola and the global economy

Weak data from China and Europe have in particular badly spooked markets, though U.S. jobless claims and industrial output data on Thursday were slightly better than expected.

Dollar weakness has also supported gold and silver as the sluggish data stoked worries that the U.S. Federal Reserve would have to delay the long threatened increase in higher rates.

SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings rose 0.24 percent to 760.94 tonnes yesterday. 
In the world’s largest gold buyer China, premiums recovered to $2-$3 an ounce from $1-$2 overnight, showing higher demand and lending support to global prices. SGE gold withdrawals were very high this week and saw a very large rise for the week of 68.4 tonnes with most of the buying after their Golden Week holiday.

Get Breaking News and Updates On Gold and Markets Here

See Essential Guide To Gold and Silver Storage In Switzerland

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And The Market Breaks Again…

October 17, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Zero Hedge

OTC Markets says FINRA has halted all trading in OTC Equity securities…




FINRA has imposed a quoting and trading halt in all OTC equity securities as of 11:05:06 a.m. ET due to a lack of current quotation information currently available in the marketplace for OTC equity securities.


FINRA will notify the market when quoting and trading in all OTC equity securities may resume.”

Update: FINRA has halted trading in OTC equity securities. Updates to follow.

— OTC Markets Group (@OTCMarkets) October 17, 2014

For the second day in a row, retail is unable to sell…due to broken markets…

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War Machine Court Date Postponed; Christy Mack May Not Get Chance To Testify Against Jonathan Koppenhaver

October 17, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

War Machine

Christy Mack was set to testify against ex-boyfriend and MMA fighter War Machine on Friday, Oct. 17, before the hearing was delayed.

Read more….

Who Is Ron Klain? Obama’s ‘Ebola Czar’ Was Once Portrayed By Kevin Spacey For HBO

October 17, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

President Barack Obama on Friday morning named Ron Klain, a two-time vice presidential chief of staff, to head the federal government’s response to the Ebola virus outbreak, which reached America earlier this month. Federal agencies, particularly the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, were criticized this week for what many Americans see as an inadequate response to the first U.S. case of Ebola in Texas, which saw two nurses contract the deadly virus.

Read more….

Ridley Scott To Adapt Ebola-Themed Book ‘The Hot Zone’ For Fox TV

October 17, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

There’s been a lot of criticism over cable TV news coverage of the Ebola outbreak, with Fox News’ Shepard Smith calling it “irresponsible” and John Stewart describing it as producing a “sanity-resistent strain of fear that’s gone airborne.” So although there might be public cries of “Too soon!” in reaction to the news from Entertainment Weekly  that director Ridley S

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Falling Oil Prices Threaten Venezuelan Economy With Default

October 17, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Venezuela is juggling yet another economic problem as plummeting oil prices this week threaten to squeeze Caracas’ main source of revenue. The added pressure on Venezuela’s economy heightens some fears that the country may be on the brink of default.  

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Dow Jones Industrial Average Soars Over 200 Points On Strong Data, Earnings

October 17, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

U.S. stocks soared on Friday, following a streak of volatility, driven by better-than-expected U.S. economic data and strong corporate earnings.

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If You’ve Ever Called A Customer Service Line, You’ve Experienced This Torment

October 17, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Ah, the sweet, sweet torment of the call to customer service.

We’ve all been there: A product is broken or lost, so you jump on the phone with a customer service representative, thinking it’ll be a quick fix. But then, the ridiculously bad hold music begins to play, and slowly, you realize you’ve made a horrible mistake.

This video is everything.

H/T The Awesomer

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Women in Business: Stacey Allaster, Chairman and CEO of the Women’s Tennis Association

October 17, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Named by Forbes magazine as one of the “Most Powerful Women in Sports”, Stacey Allaster is an entrepreneurial leader with a history of leading global sports groups to exceptional results. Allaster serves as Chairman and CEO of the world’s leading professional sport for women, the Women’s Tennis Association. The tour includes more than 2,500 players representing 92 nations competing for more than $118 million in prize money at the WTA’s 54 events in 33 countries.

Allaster’s tenure began in 2009 and has been marked by her focus on global growth with Asia Pacific being the strategic priority, maximizing the fan experience through product innovations; securing a record number of new sponsors; ensuring the financial success of the sport; and enhancing the health and well-being of the athletes, while also fighting for gender equality.

She has delivered a series of financial successes that have further driven the growth of the WTA. She has secured a landmark international media deal that will maximize exposure of women’s tennis, overseen a record setting WTA Championships in Istanbul and secured a strategic partnership with Singapore to stage the WTA Championships from 2014-2018, the largest financial partnership ever completed in the history of the WTA.

How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?
I owe my success to my upbringing. I had very strong and hard-working female role models – my mother and grandmother. My mother was a single mom and she sacrificed everything to provide me with opportunities to be successful. She taught me the value of hard work, discipline and never giving up. She supported my career ambitions and there’s no question that I wouldn’t be where I am today without her.

How has your previous employment experience aided your tenure at the WTA?
I’ve been working in tennis since I was twelve years old and I have worked in all areas of the sport. My first job in tennis was cleaning the red clay courts at my local tennis club. By the age of sixteen I became a teaching pro and club manager to help pay for my own tennis lessons and college. At an early age, I was exposed to the management of people, event operations and sports marketing. For the next 20 years I spent time in athlete development, selling tennis to fans and sponsors and running the men’s and women’s Canadian Open tennis championships. Overall my previous experience taught me how to navigate our international sport with multiple stakeholders (ATP, Grand Slams, ITF, agents). I know what the players need to be successful at events and I know how to deliver an exciting sport entertainment product to fans and sponsors.

One thing that I learned early on is the value of hard work. Each and every day is now about rising to the challenge to exceed expectations and to show that I am more than qualified for my position. What I accomplished yesterday is irrelevant. The only thing that matters is what I will deliver together with my incredible WTA team tomorrow.

What have the highlights and challenges been during your tenure at the WTA?
Some highlights during my tenure at the WTA include: equal prize money at all four Grand Slams, 70% increase in player compensation over the past 5 years, the global growth of women’s – 54 events in 33 countries and our partnership with Singapore to host the season finale, the WTA Finals, featuring the top eight singles players and doubles teams in the world for the next five years. Our partnership with Singapore is the largest financial partnership ever completed in the history of the WTA and we will be transforming a 6 day tennis event in to a 10 sport entertainment spectacle featuring:

• 7 days of competition vs. 6
• 8 doubles teams vs. 4
• New WTA Finals doubles trophy being created and named after Martina Navratilova
• Official Draw Ceremony will be open to the public
• 10 Day Fan Fest that is free and open to the public
• Practice courts are open to the public
• WTA Future Stars (U14 & U16 junior girls’ event representing 12 Asian markets
• WTA Rising Stars (U23 invitational featuring 2 players from Asia Pacific and 2 from the rest of the world. Players were selected by an online fan vote)
• WTA Legends (4 day invitational featuring former WTA Champions)
• WTA Coaches Summit
• New Ambassador program
• Mariah Carey concert

The biggest challenge in this business is also our biggest opportunity – the global footprint – 54 events in 33 countries being played over 43 weeks. It is a long season. How do we keep U.S. fans engaged when we are in Europe or Asia? How do we make our European players stars in the Americas and Asia Pacific and vice versa? How do we scale this global business?

What advice can you offer to women who want a career in the sports industry?
You own your destiny. Your effort, your determination and your ability to strategically and politically navigate your career is your responsibility. Life’s journey is never straight or easy and if you can get your foot through the door – any door – you can make adjustments. Don’t be afraid to be yourself, create opportunities and seize opportunities and be ready to challenge the status quo.

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in your career to date?
The most important thing that I’ve learned in my career, and life, is to never give up. Be persistent, set goals, learn from your failures and believe in yourself regardless of what other people may tell you.

When the WTA began its search for a new CEO in 2009 they interviewed more than 20 candidates. I could have either let that discourage me or prove that I was the right person for the job and exceed their expectations. I celebrated my fifth year as Chairman and CEO of the WTA this year and that would never have been possible if I had given up when I wasn’t immediately selected.

How do you maintain a work/life balance?
Personally I don’t believe there is a work/life balance for me and it is all about prioritizing my time with work, family & friends and time for me. I am fortunate to have the partnership with my husband John who takes care of our children full-time and although I miss my children when I am away, I do not need to worry about their well being. For me, this is essential in helping me manage the stress of traveling 150 days a year.

I also listen and watch for signals from my family as to when it is time to turn off from the WTA, and, life outside of work helps to keep me grounded. There is a misconception that working women need to choose between their career and their family and that shouldn’t be the case. My family is a source of strength for me and helps me stay focused on what I’m looking to accomplish.

As it relates to personal time this must be scheduled and prioritized. I’ve learned the hard way that I do need time for me and I enjoy nothing better than a long walk on LongBoat Key’s beautiful beach or having a very nice dinner with close friends.

What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace?
I believe gender bias and inequality are the biggest issues for women in the workplace. Although there has been a great deal of progress, today we have single digit representation of female CEO’s, executive leadership and pay inequality of approximately 20%.

I was recently told that gender inequality will be eradicated in the next twenty years – twenty years, why do we need to wait that long?

Overall this is not just about encouraging women to believe they can, and should, have a seat at the table. This is a societal issue that men and women have to work together to solve. It takes education, advocacy, company’s commitment and culture, and courage for people to lead and eradicate gender bias and inequality. Company’s need to be proactive in gender representation, provide career flexibility and ultimately we need to break down the stereo type that an assertive, confident woman is an assertive, strong, confident leader and not a “B”.

How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?
Outside of my family, I owe a lot to Derek Strang and Jim Fleck of Tennis Canada along with my tennis coach, Dutchy Doer, the individual responsible for helping me get my start in the sports marketing industry. All three of these men believed in me, guided me and provided me with opportunities that have made me successful professionally and personally.

Dutchy instilled in me the belief that I was capable of achieving anything that I put my mind to and I carry his words of wisdom with me each and every day.

In my personal life, my mother is very special to me. She worked through a work-related injury, bought a house and made sure that we were taken care of. She sacrificed so much for me and my sister. She set an example for me that family comes first and I’ve followed her dedication to my family throughout my life.

Which other female leaders do you admire and why?
Without question Billie Jean King is one of my greatest heroes. She is a pioneer, an innovator, an entrepreneur and a champion. Not only is she a champion on the court, more importantly, Billie is a champion of societal change, a champion of women, a champion of men, and, a leader committed to making the world a better place.

I also admire Michelle Obama for not only becoming a successful business woman, and now First Lady, but also for her grace and for being an excellent role model for working mothers.

And Oprah Winfrey, too. In her commencement speech at Harvard she said, “You will find true success and happiness if you have only one goal…to fulfill the highest, most truthful expression of yourself as a human being.” And, she personifies that in everything she does.

What do you want the WTA to accomplish in the next year?
I want the WTA to be the most exciting and inspirational sport entertainment property on earth.

In 2015 we will launch our new strategic business plan that will focus on: improving our fan’s connection with our players; making it easier for fans to follow our season; elevate the promotion of our Rising Stars and the WTA brand; continue the transformation of our tournaments from tennis events to true sport entertainment occasions; and establish WTA media. Overall we are looking to maximize the distribution of all our live content “matches” and non live including highlights, player personality profiles across all channels – broadcast, digital and social.

One of our major strategic ideas is that we want to centralize all live television rights and produce all 2000 of our main draw singles matches at our 54 tournaments in 33 countries by 2017. Today we produce 700 matches so this would be a significant undertaking, however, we believe this will improve the connection with our fans, allow us to promote national heroes and provide enhanced value for our sponsors

Taking all of the content – live and non-live – and distributing it on mobile platforms and via social media will be the key to our success and will allow us to engage with younger fans, and global fans.

This year’s WTA Finals take place October 17-26 in Singapore and are a great way for fans to see established names and rising stars go head-to-head–it really is the ultimate showdown in women’s tennis the top eight singles and doubles teams of 2014 and this will set the tone for next year.

2015 will be all about implementing and hitting on the goals of our strategic plan, WTA 2020.

Read more….

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