WTA announces partnership with CVC Capital

Private equity fund CVC Capital Partners will be the Women’s Tennis Association’s (WTA) commercial partner and invest in the sport with a minor stake in the women’s tennis governing body, the WTA said on Tuesday.

Financial details were not revealed but Sky News reported CVC would own a 20 per cent stake for $150 million, with the firm set to establish a new company to oversee broadcasting and marketing operations.

CVC has invested in several other sports such as Formula One, MotoGP, cricket, volleyball and rugby while they have also struck media rights deals with LaLiga and Ligue 1.

“This partnership with CVC brings experience, a network and capital to move our sport to the next level… pioneering new standards for a more equitable and valuable sport,” WTA Chairman and CEO Steve Simon said in a statement.

“It is truly fitting that we are celebrating 50 years of the WTA alongside the introduction of this landmark and historic opportunity.”

American world number three Jessica Pegula, who is a member of the WTA Players’ Council, said the deal is “exactly what women’s tennis needs”.

“For so long, we’ve been championing the sport for women across the world and it’s great to have the investment and belief in the players and WTA product,” she said.

The WTA said CVC’s key focus would be providing fans with more access to the sport, investing behind the Tour brands, building player profiles and investing in digital platforms and commercial capabilities.

“Tennis is the number one professional women’s sport in the world, with a huge fan base and commercial opportunity,” said Gemma Wright, senior managing director in the media & entertainment team at CVC.

“WTA and CVC will work together to innovate, grow fan engagement and the revenues of the WTA, which we can then reinvest back into the game.”

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