SBD/25/Leagues Governing Bodies

ATP TOUR'S FORMAT CHANGES AIM TO BE FAN/SPONSOR FRIENDLY

          The ATP Tour Board of Directors approved changes to the
     format and structure of the Tour beginning in 2000.  The
     moves, approved at the ATP World Championships in Germany,
     look to simplify the ranking system by implementing a
     calendar year point system based on 18 events and include a
     reduction of Top Tier tournaments from nine to seven; player
     requirements to participate in the seven Top Tier events and
     four Grand Slam tournaments; a rotation of the ATP World
     Championships -- currently held in Hannover, Germany -- and
     a bonus pool based on participation in Tour events.  The new
     plan will enable the ATP Tour to package domestic and
     international TV and marketing rights for all Top Tier
     events, as the Tour's domestic and international TV
     partnerships all expire after the '99 season.  ESPN holds
     the domestic rights to the Tour (THE DAILY).
          MORE DETAILS: The ATP Tour Championships will remain in
     Hannover through '99.  The event will then move to a new
     venue each year.  ATP VP/Communications Peter Alfano told
     THE DAILY that the Tour can "take the event to where it will
     help us to market the game.  Asia is a great example." 
     Alfano added that the Tour would like to work with the Grand
     Slam Cup Committee to potentially merge the Tour
     Championships with the Grand Slam Cup, that is played in
     September in Munich.  He also added that a decision has yet
     to be made as to which two Top Tier events will be relegated
     to second tier status.  Alfano stressed that the Tour's new
     structure would aid sponsors looking to acquire domestic and
     international sponsor rights and be affiliated with all Top
     Tier and Grand Slam events and the Tour would like to secure
     several umbrella sponsors for the entire series. 
          WORKING IN TANDEM: The ATP Tour is in talks with the
     WTA Tour to unify the seven Top Tier events, with a combined
     season finale.  ATP Tour Chair Mark Miles said that the Tour
     is "flexible" and will work with the WTA Tour in hopes of
     reaching an agreement.  On Sunday, WTA Tour CEO Anne Person
     Worcester said that "we're certainly open to proposals from
     the ATP and will look at them, provided that they are
     consistent with our own goal of strengthening women's tennis
     as its own product. ... It's only logical that the men and
     women would share equally in prize money increased from day
     one of combining events" (THE DAILY).  
          MORE TENNIS: In Washington, Bud Collins wrote a special
     contribution on the state of the game in which he listed his 
     solutions to challenges facing the game.  Among them:  Merge
     the ATP and WTA into the Association of Professional Tennis
     and appoint a commissioner or commission to manage and
     market the sport; change the long schedule to make 20 "top"
     events; and better PR with an open door policy to the locker
     rooms (WASHINGTON POST, 11/23)....New WTA Tour title
     sponsors include Toyota (Tokyo), Samsung (Korea), adidas
     (Sydney), Czech-based auto manufacturer SKODA (Prague) and
     Latin American health care provider Colsanitas (Bogota) (WTA
     Tour)....Officials at the Phoenix/ATP Tour World Doubles
     Championships said that 25,265 tickets were sold for the
     five-day event, "about 4,500 more than last year."  In
     Hartford, Greg Garber writes that "attendance was probably
     closer to 15,000.  About 10,000 of those were there for the
     semifinals and finals" (HARTFORD COURANT, 11/25)....Billie
     Jean King announced that a 25th anniversary celebration of
     her "Battle of the Sexes" vs. Bobby Riggs will be held next
     year at Hartford's Phoenix World Doubles event.  But Phoenix
     Home Life Mutual Chair Bob Fiondella said the event's format
     had not been decided (HARTFORD COURANT, 11/23).

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