SBJ/July 1-7, 2013/Franchises

Kastles eye wins record, local camaraderie

With two more wins, Mark Ein’s Washington Kastles will have accomplished something no other professional sports team has done.

They’re in this position because they’ve posted two straight undefeated seasons.

The Kastles have 32 consecutive wins heading into the 2013 Mylan World TeamTennis season. The team is working to find equal success with business partners and community initiatives.
Photo by: VITHAYA PHONGSAVAN
“Last year, sitting here a few weeks before the season started, people were asking the players and me what did we think was going to happen … and we said, ‘Well, obviously that [a 16-0 season in 2011] had never happened before, so it’ll never happen again.’ And it did. So now, it’s got a bunch of attention.”

With their 32 consecutive wins, when the Kastles begin their 2013 Mylan World TeamTennis season on July 8, they’ll have a chance to tie the Los Angeles Lakers’ 1971-72 record for consecutive wins in U.S. team sports. They could break the Lakers’ record the following night, July 9.

Ein is the founder and owner of the Kastles, having launched the team in 2008. Born in Maryland, Ein, 48, has deep ties to the Washington, D.C., area. He is the founder and CEO of the investment and acquisition firms Venturehouse Group and Capitol Acquisition Corp., among other business involvements. He’s also chairman of the D.C. Public Schools Education Fund and is a director at large on the board of the U.S. Tennis Association.

Ein
The Kastles play at Kastles Stadium at the Wharf. Built in 2011, the venue seats about 2,700 and is located on the Potomac River, with views of the Washington Monument and Jefferson Memorial. The roster for the team, which competes in WTT’s team-based tennis format, includes Martina Hingis, Leander Paes and Venus Williams.
“The original idea was that if we built the stadium and brought the team here, it would be a way to bring our community together,” Ein said. “Give back to the community, and help local charitable partners — and those were our founding principles.”

Each year, the Kastles support more than 100 local youth and military charities, put on tennis clinics throughout the community, and give 1,000 free tennis rackets to youth to help promote the sport.

Team sponsors include Geico, Bloomberg, SunTrust and Events DC. Team officials also work with the ATP/WTA Tour Citi Open, which hits the capital this month as well. WTT’s season is only three weeks, all in July. Ein calls it a “good, mutually productive relationship” with the tournament, noting that he was a ball boy for the event as a child.

Donald Dell, Citi Open tournament chairman, also noted the collaborative effort of the groups. “We strongly believe that the more people we can collectively expose to tennis, the better,” he said, in a statement. “Mark has done a great job promoting team tennis in the Washington area.”

Ein sees opportunity for the team, and the sport, beyond the most immediate prospect of the Kastles breaking the team-sports win mark.

“It’s sort of, everyone in Washington comes together around this thing for three weeks and has a great time and roots for their hometown, and in the process we’re doing good in the community and making more people love the sport of tennis,” he said. “So that’s great.”

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