ATP finally signs marketing deal with ISL Worldwide

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LUCERNE--The Association of Tennis Professionals, the governing body of men's tennis, has finally granted sports marketing group ISL Worldwide the exclusive marketing, broadcast and licensing rights for an "elite" series of tournaments.

The deal is a $1.2 billion, 10-year agreement covering the ATP Tour, the ATP Tour World Championships and the individual Super 9 "elite" tournaments.

Last January, the Interpublic Group of Cos. sports marketing unit Octagon pulled out of its joint project with ISL because of a disagreement with the ATP over the amount of revenue it would guarantee to generate from the commercial rights to the Championships and Super 9 tournaments. Octagon had offered $1 billion over 10 years. ISL continued in its negotiations with the ATP.

Octagon had also been working on a marketing project to create a new premium brand in men's tennis for the ATP.

Lucerne-based ISL says its agreement with the ATP, starting January 1, 2000, is "the first step in a joint process, which will reposition and establish a uniform brand for the ATP Tour and create a new look for men's professional tennis."

Mark Miles, ATP's CEO, says the changes "are designed to give the fans more of what they love about tennis while, at the same time, protecting the heritage of the game."

ISL will begin by implementing a marketing program designed to pull in high profile global commercial partners who will promote tennis worldwide and maximize the game's exposure.

Copyright May 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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