30-Year Plan: A Backroom Deal?

Written by Team PTPA | June 21, 2021

The ATP Tour Board of Directors is in the process of rushing through a vote to secure a 30-year deal that will provide 30 year licenses to the Masters 1000 tournaments and aggregate even more rights, including player data, under the ATP Media umbrella. Recently it came to light that a private equity firm called CVC Capital Partners is considering a minority stake worth $600 million in ATP Media. 

 

What does it mean for the players? Nobody but the ATP knows, and they don’t want to provide details. The ATP is negotiating backroom deals in secret to their own advantage and it’s time the players have a true seat at the table.

 

The PTPA wants to work with the ATP and agrees with the ATP that the sport needs to generate revenue commensurate with its fan base and is in full support of a new plan that grows the sport. As the ATP points out in its 30-year plan, “tennis ranks 4th in popularity worldwide, with more than 1 billion fans globally. However, it generates only 1.3% of the total value of global sports media rights.”

 

The 30-year plan says repeatedly that the sport must shift its mindset away from “self-interest” and toward the collective good of the sport. Yet in the same breath the ATP admits that “In the short-term, the plan will inevitably benefit some more than others.” 

 

To illustrate this point, one must look no further than the opportunity for the tournaments, the ATP, and ATP Media. The 30-year deal provides the tournaments with lucrative opportunities to form long-term sponsor relationships and maximize revenue.  The plan seeks to increase the value of ATP Media (owned by the tournaments and not the players) and may aggregate certain player rights to do so. What the players get in return for their rights remains unknown.  

 

Theoretically, creating more revenue for the tournaments is a good thing for all.  But, once again, the players are being told to wait to fully understand how this plan will affect their careers, and how the players may benefit from the plan. Those that have sacrificed the most are the ones being told they must sacrifice even more with no relief in sight. 

 

In 2019 the professional tennis market (ATP/WTA/Grand Slam) generated $2.2 billion in revenue. Overall, the players made just 17.5% of this revenue. Comparatively, professional golfers make 22.68% of the PGA/Euro PGA revenue, baseball and football players make 47% of the MLB and NFL revenue respectively, and players in the NHL, NBA, Bundesliga, and English Premier League make 50% or more of their respective revenues. 

 

A smart approach is one that values the players and seeks to ensure that players are adequately compensated. This will effectively raise the tide for the entire sport because it will result in better competition up and down the worldwide rankings, which in turn will generate more fan interest…and more revenue for all. 

 

#DelayTheVote

30-Year Plan: Digital Rights

Written by Team PTPA | June 21, 2021

The ATP wants to profit from the player’s images and to retain “control of data rights” in order to generate revenue from “betting and non-betting markets.” The PTPA has serious questions about how the ATP plans to mine player data and who actually owns the data. 

 

The truth is that the ATP does not want to answer players’ questions about their 30-year deal. Did you know their plan may endanger each player’s ability to build their personal brands? Rushing a vote on such an important and lasting plan is unnecessary and unfair to the players.

 

The ATP is clear on how it and the tournaments will enrich themselves but there is little to no information about how this will affect players and their ability to protect their name, image, and likeness.

 

The players must have a true seat at the table. As a result, the PTPA is respectfully asking the ATP to delay the vote until all players’ questions can be answered in detail.  

 

#DelayTheVote 

30-Year Plan: No Seat at the Table

Written by Team PTPA | June 21, 2021

We have asked for the vote on the 30-year deal to be delayed because it is extremely vague when it comes to details about how players will be affected by the plan including health benefits, revenues, travel and tournament commitments. 

The PTPA is advocating for added transparency and clarity in the 30-year plan. The plan must ensure fairness to all parties including the players. A plan that values the players and seeks to ensure that players are adequately compensated. 

The PTPA believes professional tennis must have a strong, healthy, and competitive ATP that serves all of its stakeholders. The players have been left behind a myriad of special interests. For the ATP to reach its goals, it must bring players back into balance with the rest of the industry.

Players, despite being the primary revenue drivers for the ATP and its tournaments, receive a fractional percentage of profits far below what players in other sports make comparatively.

The 30-year plan says repeatedly that the sport must shift its mindset away from “self-interest” and toward the collective good of the sport.  Yet in the same breath the ATP admits that “In the short-term, the plan will inevitably benefit some more than others.” 

The players seem to be doing all the sacrificing. We must have a true seat at the table. 

#DelayTheVote 

30-Year Plan: We Have Questions

Written by Team PTPA | June 21, 2021

The PTPA wants to delay the ATP’s vote on its 30-year plan because there are so many questions about player health, wellbeing and livelihood that must be answered. The PTPA wants a strong and healthy ATP but it is important for the players to be included in the process.  

The ATP wants the players to “trust them” to do the right thing, but trust must be earned.  The PTPA demands the ATP be transparent, it’s time we see the receipts.  Here are just some of the dozens of questions the PTPA has for the ATP:

  • Why is the plan 30 years?  
  • What benefit do the players receive for granting the ATP the right to mine and monetize their data?
  • Do players share in the increased value to ATP Media?
  • What has been negotiated with private equity firm CVC and how will it affect players?
  • What added benefits (health, insurance, pension) will the players receive?
  • What happens to the plan if the ATP cannot aggregate rights with the Grand Slams, WTA & ITF?
  • Why is the profit share being done on an aggregate and not individual tournament basis (seems to benefit the tournaments)?
  • Why is it a profit share and not a revenue share?
  • How is revenue defined in the profit share?
  • How are expenses defined in the profit share?
  • Why is infrastructure included as an expense?
  • What is the projected timeline for when this new prize money formula will be applied to 500s and 250s?
  • Why are the ATP events (ATP Cup, Next Gen ATP Finals, & Nitto ATP Finals) not included in the proposed profit-sharing model?

30-Year Plan: Delay the Vote

Written by Team PTPA | June 21, 2021

The ATP is rushing through a vote on a 30-year deal that, based on the information the ATP has provided, seems to clearly benefit the tournaments and the ATP, at the expense of the players.    

The PTPA, on behalf of 350+ ATP players, formally requests the vote be delayed until critical questions are answered. The plan is scheduled to go into effect in January 2023, so there is no valid reason not to delay the vote until all players’  questions are answered. Last year, before the 30-year plan was delayed by COVID-19, ATP had planned to vote on it just 7 months in advance, so there is still plenty of time for thoughtful consideration. 

The PTPA has dozens of questions that must be answered in detail before a vote is taken.  Players  are concerned about how their data is going to be mined and how the ATP intends to profit from it. It is also important that we understand why the plan calls for a profit share and not a revenue share; how revenue and expenses are  defined in the profit share; and how the ATP Media plans on using player data for betting and non betting purposes, to name a few.  

There are also concerns about Board Members conflicts of interests. 

These are but a few of the critical questions.  Rushing a vote on such an important and lasting plan is unnecessary and unfair to the players. 

#DelayTheVote