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SBD Global/January 22, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

International Premier Tennis League Confirms Five Teams; Auction In March

The Int'l Premier Tennis League, "inspired by the runaway success of Twenty20 cricket," will be staged from Nov. 28-Dec. 20 in Asia, according to Swanton & McDonald of THE AUSTRALIAN. Franchises "will be based in Singapore, Mumbai, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and a city in the Middle East to be announced." Organizers want 10 teams by '20, "including a push into China." Total prize money "will be settled when television rights are finalised." Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova "are understood to be certain starters and will be up for auction in a player draft on March 2" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 1/21). IPTL co-Founder and Indian double specialist Mahesh Bhupathi said, "We've got a pretty exciting player field. We are going to announce that in a couple of weeks. We're in the middle of one of the biggest tournaments in the year. We don't want to distract from that" (REUTERS, 1/21). The AAP reported Lleyton Hewitt "has committed" to IPTL. While Hewitt confirmed his involvement in Melbourne on Tuesday, organizers "were unwilling to give away other names ahead of what they said would be player announcements in coming weeks." Bhupathi said that "players were excited about the potential boost to their earnings." Bhupathi: "From a player’s perspective, players have been shouting about more prize money for a long time. This is a very positive impact for the players." Teams "must include between six and 10 players," with a salary cap of $10M and minimum of $4M. Each match "will include one set each of men’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s singles, women’s doubles and legends’ singles." The games "will have no-advantage scoring and the sets will have tiebreakers at 5-5 to keep them short, so the five sets combined will take about three hours to suit broadcasters" (AAP, 1/21).
Boris Becker, co-founder of the IPTL, said: "This is something that tennis needs. Back in my time we would have loved to have a series of tournaments in Asia, where the demand for world class tennis as an entertainment concept merges with the needs and wishes of millions of fans." International TV rights agency MP and Silva, who hold part of the television rights for 2014 FIFA World Cup, the English Premier League and Roland Garros amongst other globally prominent sporting events, have acquired the rights to the IPTL. MP and Silva will be distributing the images of the league on a world wide platform, according to Morgan Menahem CEO of the IPTL.

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ASIAN EVENT NEEDED: The PTI reported IPTL co-Founder Boris Becker said, "This is something that tennis needs. Back in my time we would have loved to have a series of tournaments in Asia, where the demand for world class tennis as an entertainment concept merges with the needs and wishes of millions of fans." Int'l TV rights agency MP & Silva, which holds part of the TV rights for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the EPL and Roland Garros, amongst other globally prominent sporting events, has "acquired the rights to the IPTL." IPTL CEO Morgan Menahem said that MP & Silva "will be distributing the images of the league on a world wide platform" (PTI, 1/21).
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