ATP, the governing body of men’s professional tennis and ATP Media (the global sales, broadcast production & distribution arm of the ATP Tour) will launch the tender process for the sale of the international media rights to the ATP Cup on Monday 4th March 2019.
Launching in January 2020, the ATP Cup will bring together more than 60 of the world’s best players from 24 nations for an annual team event – with up to 750 ATP ranking points and USD$15 million prize money at stake. The tournament has been strategically placed to kick-start the men’s professional tennis season and flow seamlessly into the first Grand Slam of the year – the Australian Open. The inaugural tournament will take place in Australia from Friday 3rd January to Sunday 12th January 2020 across three cities – Sydney, Brisbane and one to be announced – and will feature 129 matches across 10 days.
Delivered in partnership with Tennis Australia, the ATP Cup sees nations split into six groups of four, with eight teams emerging from the round-robin stage to compete in the knockout phase until only one team is left standing. There will be up to five players in each team, with ties comprising two singles matches and one doubles match.
Chris Kermode, ATP Executive Chairman & President, said: “The ATP Cup forms a key part of our innovative strategy to really drive forward the success of our sport and engage fans across the world. It’s vital to start the season with a bang, which is why we’re bringing the world’s best players together for this fantastic new team event – scheduled at the optimum time for players, fans and broadcasters alike. The ATP Cup provides a fantastic opportunity for broadcasters to bring the excitement of world class tennis to hundreds of millions of people across the globe.”
The inception of the new event received widespread support from ATP players. Novak Djokovic, World No.1 and President of ATP Player Council, said: “I like that it’s owned by ATP – by players – and I like that we have ranking points. It’s the best way to kick-start the season. Ninety plus percent of the time we are playing as individuals and we don’t have too many team events.”
Roger Federer, 20-time Grand Slam champion, added: “I think the players do sometimes feel a little bit lonely on the road. Of course we have great teams, but playing within a team with other players is great fun and I think it’s going to be very successful.”
John Isner, World No.9 and member of the ATP Player Council, said: “You are playing for your country, which is the greatest honour you can have.” Kei Nishikori, World No.6, added: “I think it’s good to have all the teams together and all countries together and everybody enjoys playing for their country.”
The international broadcast content for the tournament will be fully produced by ATP Media in conjunction with Tennis Australia as Host Broadcaster – incorporating not only a fully produced World Feed showcasing the best of the action, but also the ability for broadcasters to show the action from every match via individual court feeds (containing both graphics and English language commentary), press conferences, bespoke social media content and much more.
Bidders will therefore be given flexibility to bid for rights packages around their specific broadcast requirements (including single or multi-territory bids, as well as rights across linear, digital, OTT and VOD) – with deals to be based around a minimum three-year contract. ATP Media will be managing the bid process for international broadcast rights.
Mark Webster, ATP Media CEO, said: “ATP Media is absolutely delighted to be able to come to market with the international rights for such an exciting new tournament. With its position in the calendar, the ATP Cup will enable broadcasters to kick off their ATP Tour season coverage in a manner they have not had before and, for the first time via ATP Media, to deliver a team event that brings a different dynamic to other tournaments. Working together with Tennis Australia as the Host Broadcaster, ATP Media is committed to ensuring the production values which it instils across all the tournaments it represents are carried through to the ATP Cup – delivering international broadcast coverage that is of the usual market-leading quality.”