ATP Approves Change Shelf To Share Tennis Wealth

ATP Approves Change Shelf To Share Tennis Wealth

PARIS – ATP, the men’s professional tennis tour, has approved a package of changes to distribute profits among tournaments and players and make the five best Masters 1000 tournaments bigger and longer.

Italian and former star player Andrea Gaudenzi made much of the long-term plan when he applied for the chairmanship of the ATP in early 2020.

Due to the problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic, as well as numerous tensions and confusion within the sport, the approval of the package took about two and a half years.

“It’s been a long time and for me it’s a big step towards players and tournaments working in a more adaptive and partnership spirit. That’s how ATP was designed decades ago,” said Todd Martin, a former top five player and president of the ATP Players Council, now International Tennis Glory. He is the CEO of the hall.

ATP is an unusual, often difficult partnership between labor and management in professional sports: Players and tournament owners have equal representation on the board of directors and the ability to hinder each other’s initiatives.

This structure has made change in a fragmented sport, including six other governing bodies, difficult and sometimes unbearably slow: WTA; International Tennis Federation; and four Grand Slam tournaments that operate independently of each other and from tours and generate more than 80 percent of their profits in professional tennis.

The new ATP package, which will be announced on Thursday, seeks to close part of this gap by strengthening other tournaments and closing the ranks in the men’s round, which is divided by internal disagreement. Novak Cokovic, currently number one. One male single player led the creation of the Professional Tennis Players Association in 2020 to create more speaking power for players and expand the number of players who can make money on the tour.

However, the best male stars, including Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray, refused to support the PTPA, and all three are part of the ATP Players Council, which has been instrumental in approving the new changes.

It is also a comprehensive plan for board members to establish stricter rules on conflicts of interest and improve player conditions during tournaments. But the main changes are related to sharing.

ATP will combine tournament rights with ATP Media, the tour’s sales, production and distribution arm. For the first time, the Masters 1000 tournaments, the nine best events of the regular men’s tour, including the Miami Open and the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California, will share the percentage of revenue from ATP Media with lower-ranked tournaments. Known as ATP 500s and ATP 250s. The 500s and 250s will have a guaranteed representation on the expanded board of directors.

For the first time, the Masters 1000 tournaments will allow for a completely independent audit and give players a share of the profits in addition to the main cash prize.

In a telephone interview, Gaudenzi said, “We said let’s really start at the root of the problem, which is the lack of trust between players and tournaments.” “And all the battles that take place every year and take 80-90 percent of our time, energy and resources make up about 1 percent, 2 percent, 3 percent of the prize money.”

Gaudenzi said the profit-sharing agreement, like the ATP plan as a whole, would run for 30 years from 2023 to 2053, and called for a 2.5 percent increase in the guaranteed cash prize each year at the Masters 1,000 events. After a multi-level verification process, players would receive a percentage of their profits for their performance in all of the Masters 1000 tournaments. If tournaments lose money, the main prize money will remain the same.

Gaudenzi said the annual bonus pool would also increase significantly, targeting “$ 20 million” (more than about $ 11 million this year) and being paid to 30 players instead of the current 12.

In return, the Masters expands to 1,000. So far, only Miami and Indian Wells have had 12-day tournaments with a draw of 96 players. However, starting next year, the tournaments in Madrid, Rome and Shanghai will be extended to 11 or 12 days, and in Mason, Ohio, the Canadian Open and Western & Southern Open tournaments will be expanded in 2025.

It will only leave the Monte Carlo and Paris Masters races as 1,000-level events per week, but Gaudenzi said the hope is to expand them and make them a combination of men’s and women’s tournaments.

“We’re trying to offer more premium entertainment throughout the day,” Gaudenzi said.

According to him, market research shows that about one billion fans watch tennis to some extent, but the vast majority of them are “checked and tested only in big matches, such as the semifinals and finals of the Slams.”

He said the goal is to create a larger nucleus of 100 million fans who watch the sport more closely throughout the year.

“I think the difference between Slams and Masters, for example, is a bit too big now compared to golf,” Gaudenzi said. “In terms of success and cash prizes, the specialties and the PGA Tour are closer, and we need to raise that level because we want to give fans a story from January to the ATP Finals at the end of the year. ”

The expansion of the Masters 1000 will fail, reducing the existing window for smaller tournaments, especially the ATP 250, which is the lowest rung of the main ladder.

“When the table gets tight, you’ll lose about 250 somewhere,” said Bill Oakes, former tournament director of the 250 in Winston-Salem, NC. “People will be fired, but I told them. To the many tournament directors who said, ‘I’m not going to be.’

Gaudenzi said aging would be low, but the long-term goal was not just to change ATP, but to develop tennis as a whole by creating more integrated governance and safeguards. He added that he had tried to avoid conflicts with Wimbledon this year, which barred Russian and Belarusian players from playing this summer only to see revenge by deleting the ATP and WTA rankings.

“It’s definitely an unfortunate situation that worries players and everyone,” Gaudenzi said. “The only thing I can say is, I hope this is the last time.”

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