The women’s professional tennis tour on Tuesday launched a business venture with CVC Capital Partners to increase revenue for the sport, with the investment manager committing $150 million for a 20% stake known as WTA Ventures LLC.
WTA President and CEO Steve Simon said, “Obviously, the ambition is to grow women’s professional tennis materially. To raise our profile, its value, the prize money.” “This arrangement is definitely going to provide us with more investment opportunities for our players and our tournaments.”
He said the new entity is completely separate from the St. Petersburg, Florida-based WTA Inc., which oversees the tour, and will manage all business activities of the sport, including rights to broadcast, data, gaming, sponsorship, licensing and NFTs. ,
Simon said, “Hopefully we can start to get more viewers and more engaged fans.” “Then that would drive the asset value of each of those properties through audience growth.”
In late 2021, Simon announced that the WTA would suspend all of its tournaments – including the season-ending WTA Finals – that were held in China due to concerns over the safety of former player Peng Shuai, which cost It was millions of dollars. , Restrictions on competition remain in place in China; Simon said a decision on where to hold this season’s WTA Finals would be taken by the end of March.
He called CVC Investments “completely unconcerned with any of these issues”.
Simon also said that the agreement announced on Tuesday “does not prohibit in any way from continuing discussions with the ATP (Men’s Tennis Tour) and potentially striking a greater deal with the ATP involved.”
CVC says on its website that it is a “global alternative investment manager” with more than 137 billion euros ($145 billion) in assets under management.
It has worked with Formula One, European soccer leagues, rugby, volleyball and other sports.
The WTA-CVC partnership has been in the works for some time, from initial concept to completion of the deal over the past 12 months.
“It’s been a long journey,” Simon said.