Tennis' main governing bodies are set to undergo talks regarding the future of the sport's governance to streamline its operations.
The ATP, WTA, the four Grand Slams and the International Tennis Federation (ITF) have formed the 'T7 working group', which will look to consider a combined calendar and partnerships in commercial offerings, sponsorships and broadcasting deals, according to ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi.
“I’m excited to go through that process because it’s never been done before. I don’t know the outcome, but I look forward to exploring all options,” Gaudenzi told Reuters.
“We committed to start after the Australian Open to work together on our project with the help of a consultant from March. Governance, calendar rules, synergies in commercial media, data rights, sponsorship - everything is on the table.”
Currently, the ATP and WTA, who govern the men's and women's tennis tours, operate separately, using different ranking systems and commercial structures and are only involved in a few tournaments outside of the four Grand Slam events.
However, it now appears that their is interest in a unified body for both tours, with an 18-month deadline to establish such an entity and to review the sports' governance. Bi-weekly meetings are due to be held to work on the proposals.
“Media and data, enriching the experience in digital is the future of distribution,” Gaudenzi added, suggesting that he wanted to see tennis move away from its reliance on ticket sales to become a more commercially driven sport.
“We are seven billion people in the world, not everybody is privileged to attend the events. Covid-19 has fast tracked the trend a little bit.”
Author: Jake Wilkin