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Hoag banks on big names

Hospital hopes to score significant proceeds thanks to tennis stars set to play against the Newport Beach Breakers.

July 07, 2007|By Michael Miller

The clock ticked toward the Newport Beach Breakers' opening match of the season Friday. Fans lined up in droves to see Anna Kournikova in action. And officials at Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian kept their fingers crossed.

The hospital, whose foundation took over operations of the World TeamTennis squad earlier this year, stands to receive nearly all of the Breakers' proceeds over the next three years. The foundation already rakes in around $1 million with its annual Toshiba Classic golf tournament, but it remains to be seen how profitable its new endeavor will be.

"I don't know that we have a financial goal for this year," said Debra Legan, Hoag's vice president of marketing and communications. "It's our first year. We're hoping that we break even and, over time, we can turn it into a profitable operation."

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Hoag administrators predicted that the team could eventually provide the hospital with up to $300,000 a year for technology and research. And if it reaches that goal, it will have some powerful help along the way.

The Breakers play a 14-game schedule in July, with half the matches played at home in a newly constructed stadium at the Newport Beach Country Club.

The team's regular four-player roster will be joined throughout the season by big-name stars. Pete Sampras is scheduled to play for the team on Tuesday, with Maria Sharapova on board for the Breakers' final home game on July 25.

Among the visiting players signed to play against Newport Beach are Venus Williams, John McEnroe and Kournikova, who took the court for Sacramento in the Breakers' home opener Friday.

Anjanette DeGarceau, the manager of Hoag's marketing department, said the visiting stars would probably be the biggest draws.

"They're referred to as marquee players, basically," she said.

Furthermore, Breakers Executive Director Jeff Purser said, those marquee names could be a boon for local tourism.

"We're on national television two nights" this season, he said. "It's hard to buy that kind of exposure for a community like this."


  • MICHAEL MILLER may be reached at (714) 966-4617 or at michael.miller@latimes.com.

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