Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 21 No. 2
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.

Contrast in revenue for tennis tours

Revenue for the ATP World Tour surged in 2012 and was flat for the WTA Tour, according to the most recent tax returns filed by the circuits.

At the men’s tour, revenue jumped 12 percent to $91 million, leading to a nearly $16 million surplus for the organization. Meanwhile, the WTA’s revenue inched ahead by about $100,000, to $61.4 million, with the WTA’s year-end surplus shrinking by 16 percent, to $3.6 million.

Sponsorship revenue at the WTA dipped to $22 million from $26.4 million, according to its return. The tour avoided an overall revenue decline with increases in fees assessed on tournaments and players, and a $2.4 million jump in TV rights to $15 million.

The tours principally take in money from sponsorships, assessments on players and events, and their respective year-end championships. The tax-return figures do not reflect revenue from tournaments.

The annual filings also outline executive compensation for the groups.

Stacey Allaster, CEO at the WTA, earned $1.15 million in 2012, according to that group’s return. The ATP paid its top executive in 2012, Brad Drewett, $1.5 million. Drewett died in May of this year, and Chris Kermode last week was selected to replace him, with a three-year deal taking effect Jan. 1.

Drewett’s predecessor, Adam Helfant, continued to earn pay from the ATP in 2012. Helfant served three years as executive chairman but left at the end of 2011 after the ATP board declined

his contract requests. In 2012, Helfant still earned $421,649, which made him the fourth-highest-paid executive at the ATP in that year, according to the tour’s return.

An ATP spokesman wrote, “That payment relates to the previous year in 2011.”

Helfant had a contract that paid him large commissions on sponsorships, a structure the tour board did not want to repeat with him and which led to his departure. It’s unclear if the 2012 compensation is commission or something else. Deferred pay is usually noted on tax returns, and it is not uncommon to see former executives listed on tax return compensation tables. Helfant’s number on the ATP return, however, is not designated as deferred pay.

The ATP spokesman did not offer further comment on the compensation or answer when asked if Helfant is also getting paid in 2013.

The U.S. Tennis Association, which owns and operates the U.S. Open, reported $25 million of surplus in 2012, while the National Tennis Center, which files separately, reported a $1.7 million loss. USTA Executive Director Gordon Smith earned $1.27 million, according to the governing body’s return. The next-highest-paid executive was Patrick McEnroe, who earned $875,000 as general manager of the USTA’s player development program. His pay is listed in the tax return for USTA Player Development Inc.

The WTA’s tax documents also show that it paid the ATP $1.06 million in 2012.

“The WTA pays the ATP via a Shared Services agreement across all of our IT and Live Scoring needs,” said WTA Treasurer Matthew Cenedella via email. “Basically, think of this as the infrastructure costs behind our product.”

That payment placed the ATP at No. 2 on the WTA’s list of outside contractors, in 2012, behind IMG, which the women’s tour paid $1.7 million in sponsorship commissions. The WTA’s 2011 return does not show a payment to the ATP.