The International Tennis Federation has announced a monumental rebranding with the Fed Cup, the premier international team competition for women’s tennis, confirming that it will be renamed as the Billie Jean King Cup by BNP Paribas.
According to the ITF, the rebranding of the competition is the first time a major team competition has been named after a woman, with the move expected to usher in a ‘new era’.
Billie Jean King is a former World No. 1 professional tennis player and is highly decorated in the women’s game. In total, she won 39 Grand Slam titles, which include 12 in singles, 16 in women’s doubles, and 11 in mixed doubles.
Under its new branding, the Billie Jean King Cup Finals will also award the biggest annual prize fund in women’s team sports, with the reward being the equivalent to the Davis Cup Finals.
King commented: “There is nothing quite like the feeling of representing your country and being part of a team, which is why this competition is so special and important to me. It is an honour to have the women’s world cup of tennis carry my name and a responsibility I will not take lightly. Our job is to share this vision with future generations of young girls, because if you can see it, you can be it.”
ITF President David Haggerty added: “From playing the first Fed Cup as a member of the victorious US team in 1963, founding the WTA and becoming its first President, to being the first female athlete awarded the US Presidential Medal of Freedom, Billie Jean King has never stopped breaking new ground.
“Today she adds another ‘first’ to that list. The new name is a fitting tribute to everything she has achieved and will provide a lasting legacy that will inspire future generations of players and fans.”
In addition to the name change and its increase in prize money, the competition is also looking to increase its commercial portfolio with relevant sponsors and partners. As such, the ITF has also announced that Microsoft and Magellan Corporation have become new sponsors of the tournament.
ITF vice president, Fed Cup Committee Chair and Chair of the ITF Gender Equality in Tennis Committee Katrina Adams concluded: “This rebrand represents a significant moment in our sport. The Davis Cup is named after a man, so it is absolutely right that the women’s world cup of tennis is named after a woman.
“Given all she has achieved in our sport and her tireless efforts to champion equality around the world, I can’t think of a more worthy recipient of this honour than Billie Jean King.”