The Women's Tennis Association (WTA) has announced a major investment by private equity firm, CVC Capital Partners, with the aim of improving the commercial viability of women's tennis. CVC will invest £125 million ($150 million) in a new venture called WTA Ventures, in return for a 20% stake in the new company. The WTA will maintain full regulatory and sporting responsibility.
The investment is seen as a significant step towards addressing the disparity in prize money between the men's and women's tours. It is hoped that the partnership with CVC will increase the profile of women's tennis, and lead to growth in commercial and broadcasting opportunities.
The WTA's finances have been impacted by the suspension of tournaments in China and Hong Kong following allegations of sexual assault by Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai against a former vice-premier, Zhang Gaoli. The WTA has demanded a transparent investigation before the tournaments can be reinstated.
The WTA's CEO, Steve Simon, expressed optimism about the partnership with CVC, stating that it will bring experience, network, and capital to move women's tennis to the next level. He emphasized the importance of breaking down barriers and pioneering new standards for a more equitable and valuable sport.
CVC has a track record of successful investments in sports, including Formula 1, Six Nations, Premier Rugby, Spain's La Liga, and the Gujarat Titans, the reigning champions of the Indian Premier League.