SBD/June 14, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Adam Helfant Stepping Down From ATP At The End Of This Year

Helfant, ATP both deny split came from his financial demands
The ATP yesterday announced that Exec Chair & President Adam Helfant will step down from his position when his three-year contract expires at the end of the year. The ATP will begin the search for Helfant's successor in the near future. He has been with the ATP since January '09 (ATP). Helfant said he is leaving for "professional reasons" and did not provide any more details. He said reports suggesting he might leave the ATP because the BOD would not meet his financial demands were "wrong." The ATP confirmed in an e-mail that Helfant "had not asked for any pay increase." Helfant said, "We’re in the midst of a golden age now in terms of the action on court. We plan on trying to take advantage of that from a business perspective. With a little luck, we’ll have an announcement or two by the end of the year." He said that he is "unsure what he'll do next." Helfant: "I’m looking forward to considering other opportunities, and I’m excited about that, but I really do not know what will be next for me" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 6/13).

GAME, SET, MATCH: TENNIS.com reported Helfant contends that by the end of this year, ATP commercial revenues "will increase by roughly 65% and its net assets will increase by more than 1100%." He also "takes credit for the two successful year-end Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London, as well as the small reduction in the tour's calendar." Helfant was "seen in some quarters as a consummate dealmaker who rarely tried to pick sides if disputes arose between players and tournaments, or smaller and larger tournaments." But "many of the 42 tournament directors of the ATP’s smaller yet vital 250-level events were [at] odds with Helfant over a variety of issues, including the ATP’s ongoing exhibition rules" (TENNIS.com, 6/13). In California, Leighton Ginn writes men's tennis is "at a peak it hasn’t seen since the days when John McEnroe, Bjorn Borg and Jimmy Connors ruled the tour," so why would Helfant "want to leave when his current contract expires at the end of the year?" He guided the ATP "through perhaps the toughest economic times this world has seen, and it is thriving," and Helfant also "secured sponsors in Corona Extra and FedEx." Ginn: "I really think it has been more the star power on the men’s tour rather than what the ATP has done to get the sport to this high water mark. But it is still unnerving that there is a revolving door with the CEO on tour when things are going well. It makes you wonder what is bubbling under the surface" (MYDESERT.com, 6/14).
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