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SBJ/March 17-23, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies
Tennis league CEO: Answers on ownership coming soon
Published March 17, 2014, Page 9
Deep doubts still exist within tennis circles, though, as to whether the league — a brainchild of player Mahesh Bhupathi — will come off, in large part because the owners of the four franchises have not been named, and no commercial arrangements have been announced other than TV backer MP & Silva. Add to the skepticism the contention that $23 million has been committed to the players for their participation, a fairly staggering sum that represents nearly as much as is paid out by a Grand Slam event.
Staff writer Daniel Kaplan caught up last week with the CEO of the league, Morgan Menahem, who discussed the plans from Dubai via Skype.
■ Who are the owners?
MENAHEM: They are corporations, individuals in each of the four cities. They will be announced at some point, and it will be up to them to communicate.
■ Why are they not public now?
MENAHEM: It will become public. Those guys can do it themselves or they can do it through us. It will be a couple weeks before everything is put on the table. We’ve had extensive meetings with the owners; we had the owners at the draft. These people have been in front of me; they are real.
■ When do tickets go on sale?
■ Could the league ultimately be described as a high-profile exhibition?
MENAHEM: We are trying to avoid the word “exhibition.” For us, there is a competition factor because people want to see real tennis. It is just a different format.
■ When will the players be paid?
MENAHEM: The final package for the players is 20/40/40: 20 percent within two months of the draft, 40 percent a week before, and 40 percent at the end of the season.