New York | WTA announces multi-year partnership with PIF

The WTA has followed the ATP in appointing the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) as its first-ever sponsor of the WTA’s rankings.

We are delighted to welcome PIF as a Global Partner of the WTA and our first-ever official naming partner of the WTA Rankings. Together, we look forward to sharing the journey of our talented players across the season, as we continue to grow the sport, creating more fans of tennis and inspiring more young people to take up the game. Marina Storti, CEO of WTA Ventures

The PIF becomes the first naming-rights partner for the WTA rankings, and the new arrangement also includes plans to promote tennis at lower levels of the sport.

The new partnership between the WTA and PIF follows the recent announcement that the season-ending WTA Finals will be hosted in Riyadh for the next 3 years, starting in 2024, and featuring the top 8 singles players and doubles teams in the Race to the WTA Finals.

The two organisations announced their new arrangement on Monday in New York, through which the PIF will serve as the naming partner of the WTA Rankings as part of a multi-year commercial deal.

Earlier this year, the men’s ATP tour also signed a multi-year ‘strategic partnership’ with the PIF that includes sponsorship of its ATP Rankings.

The WTA Rankings are the highest official rankings for women’s professional tennis players, and, with a Global Partner, the PIF WTA Rankings will track players’ journeys, while PIF will work with the WTA to celebrate and support players’ progress and their inspirational, unique stories.

In addition, as part of its commitment to inspire youth, PIF will work with the WTA to expand existing initiatives and develop new opportunities for young players, providing a significant boost to the game’s next generation of stars.

In February 2024, PIF announced its partnership with the ATP and became the official naming partner of the PIF ATP Rankings as part of a 5-year partnership.

PIF has now become the only global partner across both the WTA and ATP Tours, while PIF has also partnered with combined WTA 1000 and ATP Masters 1000 tournaments in Indian Wells, Miami and Madrid, in addition to the Beijing WTA 1000 and ATP 500 events.

The ATP Tour moved its Next Gen Finals for leading 21-and-under players to Jeddah in November, while 22-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal recently became an ambassador for the Saudi Tennis Federation, and will join 24-time major champion Novak Djokovic and rising stars Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner at an exhibition event in Riyadh in October.

There also have been discussions about placing a top-tier Masters 1000 tournament in Saudi Arabia, too, part of a possible larger restructuring involving the WTA, ATP and the kingdom.

“Together, we look forward to sharing the journey of our talented players across the season, as we continue to grow the sport, creating more fans of tennis and inspiring more young people to take up the game,” WTA Ventures CEO Marina Storti said in a statement.

Former WTA players Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert have been critical of the WTA taking its season-ending championships to Rhiyad

© Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

The announcement marks the latest move in a dramatic shift by the women’s tour, which was previously reluctant to embrace Saudi partnership.

Outgoing CEO Steve Simon said last year that Saudi Arabia posed ‘big issues’ as a host for women’s tennis events, but then it was announced in April that the season-ending WTA Finals will be held in the Saudi capital, with the Saudi Tennis Federation offering record prize money of $15.25 million this year, a 70% increase from 2023.

The announcement came despite pushback from retired greats Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova, while Russian Daria Kasatkina, who came out as gay in 2022, has also expressed reservations.

Evert and Navratilova are among many who urged the WTA to stay out of Saudi Arabia, while another former star player and Hall of Famer, equal rights pioneer Billie Jean King, has advocated for engagement.

Women’s rights activists and members of the LGBTQ community, though, accused the country of ‘sports-washing’, criticising Saudi Arabia’s human rights record as it pumps huge amounts of money into soccer, Formula One and the LIV Golf circuit.

Mohamed AlSayyad, Head of Corporate Brand at PIF, said the organisation would ‘continue to be a catalyst for the growth of women’s sport’.

“We look forward to working with the WTA to increase participation and inspire the next generation of talent,” he said in a statement.

In its press release, the WTA concludes that ‘PIF’s program of sponsorships uncovers new potential, investing in people, initiatives and partnerships that drive positive impact on the global stage. PIF is a catalyst for transformation globally, uplifting and enhancing sport for players, fans, tournaments and stakeholders at every level’.



Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Social Media Auto Publish Powered By :