by Liz Kobak
Murray, Del Potro Headline Dream Cup Barbados Live
ESPN3 and ESPN International is providing live coverage of the 2013 Dream Cup Barbados, a two-day event November 29-30 starring reigning Wimbledon champion Andy Murray (back in action for the first time following the US Open and his back surgery), plus world No. 5 Juan Martin Del Potro, No. 10 Richard Gasquet and No. 16 Nicolas Almagro.
The four-player tournament is held at the Wildey Gymnasium’s Sir Garfield Sobers Sports Complex. Players compete for beachfront accommodations at the nearby Saint Peter’s Bay Resort & Residences.
“The Dream Cup from Barbados is an exceptional showcase for some of the best tennis players in the world,” said ESPN International’s Vice President of Programming Michael Walters. “It will provide ESPN International’s multi-platform services with an outstanding tennis competition from a unique venue and we are pleased to be able to bring this event live to fans around the world.”
In its two-year agreement, broadband network ESPN3 exclusively streams live action in the United States. Two semifinal matches are played on Friday, Nov. 29, at 6 p.m. The championship match is on Saturday, Nov. 30, at 6 p.m.
Nike and LTA Renew Relationship
The Lawn Tennis Association, the governing body for British tennis, announced an enhanced four-year extension to partnership with Nike, which will be the official partner of British tennis. Nike will assume the title sponsorship of many British junior tournaments including the LTA-staged International Tennis Federation Junior Internationals, the British Junior National Championships and the Winter National Tour Finals. Nike will also provide clothing and footwear to all LTA performance coaching staff and senior and junior Great Britain national teams, including the Davis Cup and Fed Cup.
Gambling Group Sponsors ATP Tournament Despite Controversy
Online gambling group Unibet’s Stockholm Open arena sponsorship continues despite the Swedish Gambling Board’s unsuccessful efforts to stop Unibet on alleged illegal advertising grounds.
Given the Swedish Gambling Board’s injunction failed due to lack of regulatory support for the Board’s claims, The Stockholm Open’s sponsorship stays intact. This tournament is Sweden’s largest and most prestigious event, played in Stockholm’s Royal Tennis Hall. Unibet’s event partnership includes ticket promotions and live match streaming on Unibet’s websites. Former world No. 4 Jonas Björkman serves as the tournament’s marketing director and said earlier this month that his team welcomed Unibet’s sponsorship as it benefits his tournament, which takes place Oct. 14 through 10.
Among those competing is Roland Garros finalist David Ferrer, 2013 Wimbledon semifinalist Jerzy Janowicz and world No. 11 Milos Raonic.
Fila, JTCC Sign Parnership
The Junior Tennis Champions Center (JTCC) and Fila announced a multi-year agreement promoting Fila’s performance tennis apparel, footwear and accessories at a USTA Regional Training center.
“Our coaches and players have responded with great enthusiasm about both the comfort and style of the Fila® line,” said JTCC CEO Ray Benton. “We are proud to be associated with Fila, which has such a long history in the world of tennis.”
Under this contract, Fila will outfit JTCC Coaches and provide custom JTCC – Fila® co-branded jackets for players and coaches to wear at worldwide junior tournaments. Fila has opened a concept shop at JTCC featuring the brand’s latest apparel, footwear and accessories.
“We are thrilled to be associated with the JTCC,” said President of Fila USA Jon Epstein. “Junior tennis is an integral part of the company’s grass roots tennis efforts. The players and coaches at the JTCC exemplify the commitment to the sport that has been and will be such an important part of our history and our future.”
In addition to its JTCC partnership, Fila also sponsors the BNP Paribas Open, Sony Open and an array of Tour athletes including Janko Tipsarevic, Andreas Seppi, Jelena Jankovic and Julia Goerges.
Connecticut Likely Purchasing WTA Event
Coveted WTA summer tournament New Haven Open is on the market. Amid its questionable future, the WTA tennis event might be purchased by the Capitol Region Development Authority for $618,000 as early as next week. The 16-year-old event’s attendance has dwindled in recent years. Nearly 46,000 people attended matches this year, 7,000 fewer than in 2012.
“Clearly, the tennis tournament has an enormous economic impact,” said Secretary of the state Office of Policy and Management Ben Barnes. “It is an important part of the identify of the community…Plus, the sanction is asset. We can sell the sanction in the future.”
The New Haven Open takes place Aug. 15 through 23, 2014.
UMass Amherst Names New Executive-in-Residence
The Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management at the Isenberg School of Management, UMass Amherst announced on Thursday that prominent talent representative and influential sports agency executive Bob Kain is the university’s next Executive-in-Residence program guest.
Kain advocated IMG’s international growth in his 30 years with the sports marketing company. He founded IMG’s figure skating division and helped to expand IMG’s global footprint into new business concentrations, including spearheading IMG Academies and building IMG Fashion. Since then Kain has served as CAA Sports’ senior advisor. The McCormack Department welcomes Kain to the UMass Amherst campus on Tuesday, October 29.
“We are excited to have Bob Kain as our Executive-in-Residence,” said sport management department lead Lisa Masteralexis. “Bob was a driving force in the global growth and successful expansion of IMG’s business, working with Mark McCormack to lead the agency to new frontiers.”
Kain expressed his gratitude regarding his recent appointment.
“I worked alongside Mark McCormack, and I am truly honored to be the McCormack Executive-in-Residence,” Kain said. “Mark had extraordinary vision and I am eager to celebrate and reflect upon his remarkable legacy and leadership during my UMass visit.”
The McCormack Department of Sport Management is housed in an AACSB accredited business school and is a leader in its field according to The Chronicle of Higher Education, Sports Business Journal and CNBC.com.
Octagon Gifting USTA Serves $250,000
Global sports and entertainment content marketing leader Octagon recently announced that it will donate $250,000 to USTA national charitable foundation USTA Serves.
USTA Serves will receive $50,000 annually throughout five years, which goes toward helping the organization support tennis programs for youth and people with disabilities. In 30 years, Octagon has continually grown its industry reputation through successes and is an undying tennis supporter.
“This donation represents our ongoing commitment to the sport of tennis and to the important work being done by USTA Serves,” said Octagon President and Founder Phil de Picciotto. “Octagon is pleased to be able to help such a worthwhile series of programs.”
Since its 1994 inception, USTA Serves has provided community outreach programs with financial support, thus enhancing disadvantaged youth’s lives in fusing tennis with education. The organization also improves youth’s capacity-building skills and maintaining accountability. To date, USTA Serves has awarded $16 Million in grants and scholarships nationwide to people and programs.
Liz Kobak won the 2013 USTA National Women’s Open Singles Grass Court Championship. She is a 2010 Columbia University graduate and Northwestern University journalism master’s recipient. She is a former WTA ranked pro and #1 ranked United States junior tennis player who rates her 6-4, 6-1 win on Italian clay over Sara Errani as her best victory.