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Djokovic's tennis players association raises $26M

Kerry Flynn
Aug 26, 2022
Illustration of a sparkling golden tennis racket leaned against a tennis net.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Professional Tennis Players Association has raised $26 million to launch Winners Alliance to help professional tennis players better monetize themselves.

Why it matters: The for-profit will seek to sign NIL (Name, Image, Likeness) deals, an increasingly popular way for athletes to make extra money, among other dealmaking to support tennis players' well-being.

Details: Bill Ackman's Pershing Square Foundation and investment firm Prysm Capital co-led, according to a PTPA press release.

  • Ahman Nassar, former president of NFL Players Incorporated and founding CEO of OneTeam Partners, also participated in the funding round and was named executive director of PTPA and CEO of Winners Alliance.
  • Winners Alliance plans to create a licensing program for players to get paid for their likeness used in video games, trading cards and collectibles.

What the CEO is saying: "Tennis has more total viewers worldwide than baseball and football combined, but just 10-ish% of their revenue," Nassar told Sportico. "And the athletes only see about 17% of that revenue, whereas football and baseball are hovering around 50%. It's just an order of magnitude off."

Catch up quick: Tennis stars Vasek Pospisil and Novak Djokovic co-founded the PTPA in 2020. They criticized the structure of the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP).

  • ATP opposed the new organization for fragmenting the sport.
  • The PTPA met in-person Thursday in New York, where the U.S. Open begins next week. The two-hour meeting was led by Nassar and Ackman and attended by more than 40 players, per Sportico.

The bottom line: Tennis stars like Djokovic are high earners, but Winners Alliance could help better financially empower the rest of the tennis community.

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