Wall Street’s Favorite Sport Is a Failing Business – The New York Times

by | Sep 10, 2022 | Business

Like other sports, such as basketball’s W.N.B.A., the women’s tennis tour has faced its own financial challenges. Despite equality in the major championships, equal pay is still a struggle. The WTA suspended tournaments in China after the disappearance of the Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai. It is reportedly in talks for an investment from the private equity firm CVC Capital Partners, its first outside capital.“Raising a lot of money in order to give equal prize money is to be applauded, but it also needs to be sustained,” Mr. Duguid said. “There needs to be further investment in growing the game. There needs to be further investment in promoting these young stars.”Balancing on- and off-court successUnlike players in other major sports like basketball and baseball, tennis players do not have multiyear contracts, and pay isn’t guaranteed. (A study by the I.T.F., the governing body, found that 14,000 players who participated in pro tournaments around the world in 2013 made less than $1 doing so.) A tennis player’s payday comes from sponsorships and endorsement deals. Roger Federer, who is recovering from an injury and hasn’t played competitively in over a year, is still the highest-paid tennis player in 2022, according to Forbes, bringing in $90 million off the court. In second place is Ms. Osaka, with $55 million in off-court income. (Mr. Federer has endorsement deals with Uniqlo, Credit Suisse and Rolex, and Ms. Osaka has deals with the likes of Sweet Green, Louis Vuitton and Nike.)With so many branding opportunities, Tony Godsick, the longtime agent for Mr. Federer, said he had seen players accept whatever deal was placed in front of them, because “you never know if you’re going to be back in the winner circle again.”“But if you chase every dollar and you chase every opportunity, you’ll have a short career that probably won’t turn out to be as good and successful as you would like,” he said.Mr. Godsick, who spent 20 years at IMG before leaving in 2012 to start the bout …

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