Financial Struggles Leads to Sale Of ATP World Tour Event In L.A.
Farmers Classic Tournament Dir Bob Kramer confirmed the ATP stop at UCLA is in the process of being sold to a group in Bogota, Colombia. The event would occur in July on hard courts in that city next year. Kramer said IMLA Entertainment & Sports Marketing has a letter of agreement to buy the sanction, pending ATP approval. IMG advised the Southern California Tennis Association, which owns the event and has lost $3M over four years. The event held talks over the past 18 months with all the major tennis agencies -- Lagardere, CAA and Octagon -- about buying the event, as well as Larry Ellison, the owner of the event in Indian Wells, Calif. But those talks failed (Daniel Kaplan, SportsBusiness Journal).
BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE: In L.A., Bill Dwyre reported the SCTA had "lost money for four years" and came to the decision because compounding the financial losses was the fact that their July dates were "positioned close enough to the end of Wimbledon and far enough from the beginning of the U.S. Open to make them prime time for players to stay home." Theirs was a U.S. tournament "in what is now a European sport." Kramer said that the tournament "lived for years on the support of great U.S. players." SCTA Treasurer/Farmers Classic Chair Franklin Johnson said, "As recently as four weeks ago we still thought we had a chance, that we would get some local sponsorship." The "best hope" was AEG. But when Phil Anschutz "decided to sell his entertainment division, that hope dried up." Johnson said, "About any kind of local offer would have kept us here." Dwyre noted Kramer and Johnson will now "ponder possible Fed Cup and Davis matches at UCLA" (L.A. TIMES, 11/16).