By Liz Kobak
Long-Time International Tennis Hall of Fame CEO Stepping Down
International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum CEO Mark L. Stenning announced recently in the Board of Directors’ annual meeting that he is resigning in September 2014.
Since beginning his Hall of Fame career in 1980, Stenning has assumed tournament director, executive vice president and chief operating officer positions. He was named International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum’s chief executive officer in 2000. Although Stenning is stepping down from his job in September, he will still serve as an organization consultant and remain on the Board of Directors’ committee.
“Mark is a highly respected and special leader. He has brought the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum to levels that our visionary founders never could have imagined,” said International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum Chairman Christopher E. Clouser. “Under Mark’s leadership, the organization has developed programs to ensure the future success in work toward our mission to preserve the history of tennis. He has successfully directed world-class tennis events ranging from the annual Hall of Fame Tennis Championships to a Davis Cup tie, and many others.”
Under Stenning’s leadership, the Newport, RI museum and facilities have become tennis’ main worldwide Hall of Fame, which include a world renowned sports museum, research centers and an ATP World Tour tournament.
“When I began with the Hall of Fame in 1980, I never imagined what incredible career opportunities would lay ahead of me with the organization. Thirty-four years later, I look back with great appreciation for having been part of such outstanding work and projects and to have worked with so many dedicated people in the tennis industry, historic preservation industry and hospitality industry in Rhode Island,” Stenning said.
In recognition of his tennis contributions, USTA New England honored Stenning with the 2010 Gardner Ward Chase Award and the 1995 Special Recognition Award.
Andy Murray Endures Back Surgery, Endorsements Stay Strong
Reigning Wimbledon Champion Andy Murray stunned tennis fans when he announced that he is undergoing minor back surgery shortly after bowing out in straights sets in the 2013 US Open’s quarter-finals to Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka.
“After a successful return on the more forgiving grass courts, Andy enjoyed success at Queen’s and Wimbledon, but after recently playing on hard courts and clay, Andy once again sought medical advice about solving [his back issue] once and for all,” stated Murray’s management team to CNN on Thursday.
Despite missing the remainder of the 2013 ATP tour season, including the highly coveted Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, Murray’s necessary hiatus may pay dividends for the Scottish tennis sensation according to sports marketing experts.
“I don’t think it will affect his endorsements as he has already played in the grand slams and won the biggest grand slam of them all with Wimbledon,” said Leverage Agency CEO and Founder Benjamin Sturner. “It actually gives him time to do off court work with his portfolio of endorsements and brands. Most important is for Andy to get healthy to be back by the Aussie Open.”
Murray’s team aims to get him back into competitive form come next season’s first Grand Slam down under.
LTA Appointing New CEO
The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) board has selected Michael Downey as its new chief executive officer effective next January.
For the past nine years, Downey successfully served as Tennis Canada’s president and CEO. Under his leadership, Canadian tennis grew significantly on every playing level. Before this post, 56-year-old Downey held numerous executive positions including president of Molson Canada, the North American country’s largest brewery.
“We set out to recruit a CEO with true success in business, with exceptional leadership credentials and ideally with significant knowledge of tennis,” said recently appointed LTA chairman David Gregson. “Michael demonstrably fits the bill perfectly and was the unanimous choice of our recruitment panel.”
Downey replaces Roger Draper, who held his post for seven years and is expected to depart when September ends. LTA’s COO Nick Humby assumes the CEO post in the interim until Downey becomes CEO on Jan. 6, 2014.
ESPN and the ATP World Tour finalized a long-term agreement that increases coverage of the BNP Paribas Open, Miami’s Sony Ericsson Open Tennis and the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.
For the first time, ESPN is broadcasting both men’s and women’s Sony Ericsson matches. Additional ATP World Tour Masters 1000 and 500 tournament play is featured on ESPN3. That’s 1,200 hours of tennis airing annually.
“ESPN is thrilled to expand coverage of three of the biggest events outside the Major Championships – Indian Wells, Miami and the ATP World Tour season finale,” said ESPN Programming and Acquisitions Senior Director Jason Bernstein. “ESPN3 presents more live tennis action than any other U.S. outlet year-round, with multiple simultaneous matches available on broadband and via WatchESPN no matter where you are.”
ESPN3 is ESPN’s live multi-screen sports network, a 24/7 destination delivering thousands of global sports events annually via WatchESPN. It is available complimentary to 85 million homes carrying internet from an affiliated service provider.