ATP Cup venue Australia

$600m ATP and WTA merger takes huge step as banks lend support

The Association of Tennis Professional (ATP) and Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) have set in motion an attempt to merge their commercial activities and bring about a unified tennis calendar.

The governance of tennis is highly fragmented, with the ATP and WTA tours operating separately, along with the four Grand Slams and the ITF.

Now, the men’s and women’s tours are trying to forge a path to a merger between their commercial arms, supported by two major financial advisors.

The ATP have hired Rothschild, while the WTA have opted for Allen & Co to manage their side of the evaluation according to a report from Sky News. Together, they will consider the proposal to create ONE Tennis, a new venture developed by the ATP and WTA alongside CVC Capital Partners.

With these plans, CVC, already a huge investor in sport, would invest $600 million into ONE Tennis. The venture would then seek to improve the global commercial strategy of tennis, including by pushing for a combined men’s and women’s international tournament calendar.

While the merger is not guaranteed, it has the backing of a number of key stakeholders.

In June the ATP and WTA released a joint statement on the future possibility of a merger.

“The WTA and ATP are continually looking for ways to bring the sport closer together in order to provide an enhanced experience for fans, players and tournaments,” it read.

“By working together, we believe there may be significant opportunities ahead and we are exploring all options.

“These are preliminary stages and any opportunities will be assessed in close consultation with our respective stakeholders.”

CVC is likely to particularly focus on increased investment into tournaments and player prize money, as well as improved broadcast capabilities.

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