The WTA is looking to grow by installing new leadership at WTA Ventures
The GIST: The WTA has faced recent criticism for not supporting its athletes, culminating in a turbulent WTA Finals in Cancun earlier this month. Facing a break point in the women’s game, the WTA is looking to grow by installing new leadership at WTA Ventures, the new commercial arm of the organization. It’s called courting investors.
The context: WTA Ventures was established in March through a strategic partnership with CVC Capital Partners. As the tour’s commercial partner, CVC invests capital in the tennis org through its managed funds and brings 25 years of pro sport investment experience and 25 global offices to facilitate international growth.
- The organization wants women’s tennis to reach its full commercial potential and help women get paid equally at all top events. In order to boost commercial revenue and drive worldwide investment, WTA Ventures focuses on increasing fan engagement, innovating the game, and building the WTA brand.
The appointments: After naming its CEO and board of directors this spring, the WTA followed up with an executive team dedicated to driving the game’s growth. Sarah Swanson will join as chief brand officer this week, with CFO Marijn De Wit and head of strategy development Aditya Shenoy starting in January. Dream team.
The wins: The division is endorsed by top women’s tennis stars and has already hit a few aces. Most recently, it’s been focusing on media rights through agreements with Canal+ for Czechia and Slovakia, and with Sky Sports for the UK and Ireland, Italy, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.
Watch this space: Tennis knows that its current decentralized structure isn’t working, which is why WTA Ventures’ capital-backed media investment reinforces its status as the premier women’s tennis org. This strategy could also influence LPGA friends looking to ramp up media deals, prize pools, and global opportunities. Par for the course.