Oracle To Develop, Fund U.S. Tennis Circuit For Developing Players
Tech company Oracle "intends to create and fund a large circuit of lower-tier professional tournaments" in the U.S. that is "expected to significantly increase opportunities for developing American tennis players," according to Christopher Clarey of the N.Y. TIMES. The circuit -- called the Oracle Pro Series -- will "begin in full next year" and will "comprise approximately 25 new women’s tournaments and 25 new men’s tournaments." Most will be "staged as combined events, many of them on college campuses." Prize money is "expected to range from $25,000 to $108,000 per tournament." All of the tournaments will "provide ATP or WTA ranking points." Former player Jim Courier's company, InsideOut Sports & Entertainment, will "manage the series for Oracle." Courier said that Oracle had "made a three-year commitment to back the new series." USTA Chief Exec of Professional Tennis Stacey Allaster said that the organization "already operates a significant number" of minor-league men’s and women’s professional events: 113 in '19. If the Oracle Pro Series "functions as planned, it will increase the total to approximately 160 such events." Courier’s company also "operates a circuit of senior professional events known as the Invesco Series QQQ." Courier said that some of the senior events "would be staged in conjunction with the new Oracle tournaments, in an effort to add star power." Entry for spectators "will be free" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/4).