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Volume 25 No. 196
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Citi Open Likely Staying In DC Under New Management From Mark Ein

The ATP/WTA Citi Open is in the "late stages of negotiations to transfer management of the tournament" to DC-based Capitol Investment Corp. Chair & CEO and WTT Chair Mark Ein, who made clear his "intention to keep the tournament" in DC, according to Liz Clarke of the WASHINGTON POST. Sources said that as part of a complex agreement, Ein would "get an option to buy the event within five years." The pending agreement comes at a "pivotal moment for the tournament, which marked its 50th anniversary this summer yet was in the final year of its title sponsorship with Citi ... that is key to its solvency." It is also "coming off a calamitous, rain-drenched edition in August that resulted in a six-figure financial loss." The agreement was "brokered between Ein and the Washington Tennis & Education Foundation, which owns the ATP sanction agreement that conveys the right to stage the event." In working out an agreement, the WTEF board "passed on more lucrative offers from potential buyers who would have moved the tournament elsewhere" -- some of whom were willing to pay $20M or more to do so. A source said that as many as a dozen entities "inquired about buying the foundation’s ATP sanction." Among them was Oracle Chair Larry Ellison, who "probably would have relocated the tournament to California." It is "unclear what Ein will pay for taking on management of the event, nor is it clear what he would pay to buy the WTEF sanction in the future, should he exercise his option to do so" (WASHINGTON POST, 11/28).