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ATP Tour approves ‘key aspects’ of strategic plan including more 12-day Masters 1000 events

Big announcements are on the horizon for the men’s ATP Tour in tennis after plenty of activity behind the scenes over the past year and a half. The developments would include more 12-day Masters 1000 events and a new prize money-sharing arrangement, as per an internal announcement made by chairman Andrea Gaudenzi.

In a letter to the players, Gaudenzi stated some “key aspects” of its Strategic Plan for a redesign of the men’s tour have been approved.

Per a tweet from Jon Wertheim, the developments include “agreement on a new Profit-Sharing formula,” “long-term prize money levels,” and “expanding more Masters 1000 tournaments to 12-day events” along with some other changes to tournament arrangements and the tennis schedule.

The profit sharing formula has long been a topic of debate between players, ATP and various stakeholders and led to the formation of the Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA) spearheaded by World No 1 Novak Djokovic and Vasek Pospisil.

 

The letter by Gaudenzi also said these were subject to further agreement on other issues like rights aggregation and governance, plus a full-season schedule.

These issues were highlighted as part of ‘Phase I’ of the Strategic Plan, which was distributed to players last year. It includes turning Rome, Madrid, Canada, Cincinnati and Shanghai to 12-day Masters events similar to Miami and Indian Wells, and adding ATP 250 events during the second week of these Masters tournaments. Those ATP 250 events could get a subsidy from the ATP Tour, provided by extra fees paid by the Masters tournaments.

In terms of prize money, it is slated to increase at 2.5 percent of a base level, plus a bonus pool with a 50 percent share of the collective profit of the Masters events. The arrangement, significantly complex in nature, includes an independent audit of tournament figures provided to the ATP Tour.

The plan also calls for changes to ATP Media, ATP’s broadcast arm, which is currently owned jointly by the Tour and each of the Masters events. Under the plan, all tournament would pool their rights and get a share in ATP Media. In addition, ATP will create another independent entity called ‘Tennis Data Innovations,’ which will centralise data rights.

Gaudenzi, who came in as CEO in 2020, believes these changes will significantly increase the amount the ATP Tour currently gets for broadcast and data rights.

The second phase hopes for more integration with the women’s WTA Tour and Grand Slam events. Gaudenzi has acknowledged that movement on these plans has been delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.

An initial vote by the ATP Board was planned before the start of Wimbledon but was postponed amid request by PTPA.

The ATP Board consists of the Chairman, three tournament representatives and three player representatives.

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