TENNIS

Players and ATP Tournaments will share profits alongside increased prize money

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Players and tournaments will share profits 50-50 from 2023 on the men’s ATP Tour while total prize money will increase through an agreed expansion of top-tier tournaments, the circuit’s world governing body announced on Thursday. male.

The ATP said its strategic plan for widespread reform had been given the green light, which should end bitter disputes over prize money and profit sharing in men’s tennis.

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This first phase of the ATP’s OneVision plan – primarily aimed at increasing media and television rights revenue – has been approved by its board of directors after more than two years of deliberation.

“Transferring everyone’s mind to the future was the hardest part,” ATP president Andrea Gaudenzi told Reuters.

“But I think overall we continued to be very persistent, the evidence we provided, lots of data, lots of information, lots of material and ultimately we convinced, I wouldn’t say everyone , but the majority.”

The lack of transparency has long been a cause of friction between tournaments and players, and the issue flared up again when the coronavirus pandemic forced prize cuts.

But from next year players will have access to audited event financials, the 50-50 profit sharing formula will be implemented and there will be an increase in prize money and bonus pools due of the expansion of ATP 1000 events.

Gaudenzi, a former top-20 singles player, says the sport is too reliant on ticket sales and needs structural change.

He was “happy and proud” to have finally secured the backing of the board after the pandemic forced all sporting bodies into crisis mode.

“It’s kind of like trying to engage employees in a startup,” he said. “You give them stock options, you give them a share of the upside and the success. That’s where you create motivation and momentum. And that’s where you create alignment. “

The Masters tournaments in Indian Wells and Miami already take place over 12 days with larger draws. From 2023, ATP Masters events in Madrid, Rome and Shanghai will follow.

Starting in 2025, the Canada and Cincinnati events will also transform into 12 days.

The four Grand Slam tournaments – the biggest events on the tennis calendar and organized independently of the ATP or the WTA – take place over two weeks, or 15 days for Roland-Garros.

“It helps tennis in general if the gap between the Slams and the Masters gets a little bit smaller because you want to have the continuity of the narrative,” Gaudenzi said.

“That’s huge value, especially these days that players like Apple, Amazon, Netflix…when they roll out the product, they roll it out to 180 markets and not just one. What’s better than tennis? C is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year, regardless of gender, men and women.”

The prize money of the five expanded tournaments will increase by more than 35% between 2022 and 2025, according to the ATP. The year-end bonus pool is expected to almost double in the short term and will be distributed among the top 30 players instead of the top 12 previously.

A new incentive mechanism could benefit more than 140 players, depending on the financial performance of the tournaments.

Enjoying a massive following all over the world, tennis is governed by seven different organisations: ATP, WTA, the four Grand Slam tournaments and the International Tennis Federation.

The second phase of “OneVision” aims to create a unified governance structure and operating model for the sport.

Gaudenzi admits it won’t be easy.

“Let’s say without phase 1, phase 2 wouldn’t make sense,” he added. “Sometimes it’s harder to start the engine. Once you start the engine, you’ll always have a few bumps in the road.”

The ATP and WTA marketing departments were aligned at the start of 2021 and Gaudenzi believes the “natural first step” of the second phase will be for the male and female bodies to collaborate more.

“Once you have the power of all the tournaments and the content together, that’s what the fans want,” he said.

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