Venus Williams, Andy Roddick Acquire Minority Stakes In World TeamTennis
Andy Roddick and Venus Williams will each own slightly less than 5% of World TeamTennis in a deal announced yesterday. The two are not paying for their stakes, but will market the summer league, make appearances and be full equity owners, meaning they are subject to cash calls. Roddick and Williams will own 5% each of World TeamTennis Int’l, which owns 75% of the eight-team league. The remainder is largely owned by the USTA. WTT Commissioner & CEO Ilana Kloss said she hoped to broaden the tennis player ownership model “down the road,” along with int'l expansion next year. Roddick and Williams are longtime WTT competitors, and will be so again this summer (Daniel Kaplan, Staff Writer). The AP's Melissa Murphy noted Roddick and Williams will "help identify new markets and reach out to potential owners, sponsors, fans and players." Kloss said that the league this season "added a new title sponsor, the pharmaceutical company Mylan; moved its Kansas City, Mo., team to Irving, Texas; and plans to expand to 16 teams by 2018." Kloss added that the league is "looking at potential teams in Austin, Chicago, Denver, Seattle, Toronto and Vancouver." Roddick "considers Austin and several cities in Texas a good fit, especially since tennis has become more global, with some U.S. tournaments moving to other countries." Roddick plans to "use social media to help drive interest to the teams and league" (AP, 5/6). Kloss said that WTT's "more pressing goal is strengthening its eight existing franchises ... citing Washington, Philadelphia and Sacramento as high-performing benchmarks" (WASHINGTON POST, 5/7).