The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) announced that CVC Capital Partners, the global private equity firm, had become a commercial partner after making a $150 million investment that gave CVC a 20 percent stake in a new commercial subsidiary named WTA Ventures.
The subsidiary will generate revenue by managing sponsorship sales, broadcasting and data rights. CVC also brings access to a broad international network of 25 local offices across Europe, Australasia and the Americas to support the accelerated commercial growth of tennis.
The WTA will continue to own the majority interest in the partnership and retain full regulatory and sporting responsibility for the women’s game.
CVC Capital Partners once owned the Formula 1 racing series and has remained a major sports investor. Other investments have included Moto GP, Rugby, the French Football League, La Liga, Volleyball, and IPL Cricket.
Steve Simon, WTA chairman and CEO, said, “I am excited for the next chapter of the WTA, whose future will continue to push the growth of women’s professional tennis. It is truly fitting that we are celebrating 50 years of the WTA alongside the introduction of this landmark and historic opportunity. This partnership with CVC brings experience, a network and capital to move our sport to the next level, embracing the ambition of our founding members, urging women’s tennis beyond its barriers and pioneering new standards for a more equitable and valuable sport.”
Gemma Wright, senior managing director of the Media & Entertainment team at CVC, said, “Tennis is the number one professional women’s sport in the world, with a huge fan base and commercial opportunity. WTA and CVC will work together to innovate, grow fan engagement and the revenues of the WTA, which we can reinvest back into the game. We could not be more excited to support women’s tennis and look forward to working closely with the WTA to grow the sport globally, in collaboration with the players, tournaments and other stakeholders in the sport.”
Private investment bank Allen & Company, LLC and international law firm Proskauer Rose LLP advised the WTA. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP advised CVC Capital Partners.