|Pete Sampras on the court before retirement in August.
Mr. Sampras has become an equity partner in the magazine and will also serve as a special consultant and editorial contributor. He joins fellow tennis legend Chris Evert, who has served as the magazine's publisher for the past three years.
Terms of Mr. Sampras' financial stake were not disclosed.
Not a figurehead
"It is a financial commitment as an investor, partner and part-owner," said Ed Hanasik, vice president of marketing for Miller Publishing Group, Los Angeles, which owns Tennis. "This is not a figurehead position. He'll be actively involved in a number of things."
Mr. Hanasik said part of Mr. Sampras' duties include corporate and marketing efforts, as well as magazine endeavors with advertisers.
Mr. Sampras, who retired from professional tennis earlier this year, comes in at a time when the magazine is enjoying modest gains across the board. Through August 2003, ad pages were up 4.5% year-to-date over 2002, and ad revenue was up 4.9% to almost $20 million. For the six-month period ended June 30, the magazine's paid circulation was 715,693, up 1.6% for the same six-month period in 2002. But the bulk of that comes from a deal with the United States Tennis Association. Every person who pays for a USTA membership automatically receives a yearly (10 issues) subscription to Tennis.
Juniors (under 19 years of age) pay $15 a year for membership in the USTA, adults pay $35 and two or more members of the same family pay $55. Single-copy sales of Tennis sell for $3.99.
14 Grand slams
Mr. Sampras won a record 14 Grand Slam men's singles titles during his career, including seven Wimbledon crowns and five U.S. Open championships, and earned more than $41 million in winnings. He could not be reached for comment, but said in a statement: "Tennis magazine has always been the leader and the pulse of the industry. It's definitely a way for me to remain involved in tennis while helping to grow and improve the sport."
Ms. Evert has been the magazine's publisher since 2000 and also contributes a monthly article, as well as serving as a corporate and marketing ambassador for the title. She won 18 Grand Slam women's singles titles during her career before retiring in 1989.
"We now have, arguably, the greatest male and female U.S. tennis players in history on board at Tennis magazine," said George Mackin, president of Miller Publishing Group.