The ATP Tour has made the decision to lift the two-year long ban on men’s tennis tournaments signing deals with sports betting and fantasy companies.
After a series of match fixing incidents in 2018 the ATP Tour banned tournaments from forming partnerships with gambling operators after seeking advice from the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU), but it appears that the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) and the elite tour believe enough has been done to combat illicit activity.
The announcement was made by ATP Tour Director Eddie Gonzalez, who believes that new agreements could be worth ‘six figures plus per event.’
He also revealed that seven US-based 250 and 500 level ATP tournaments have bundled their sponsorship rights together, meaning new sports betting and daily fantasy partners could be looking at seven-figure deals to partner these events collectively.
In his statement, Gonzalez told SBJ: “We’re very appreciative of the support from the board. This has happened under Andrea [Gaudenzi] coming in as our new chairman in a very difficult year, so we appreciate that. This is a great move for ATP Tour events to be able to secure revenue in a new category.”
Under the new rules sports betting and fantasy categories are open to tournaments at the 250 and 500 levels
However, the ATP has not completely backtracked from the decision taken in 2018, as top-tier Masters 1000 events will only be permitted to allow sports fantasy categories.
Title sponsorships or presenting partnerships with sports betting or fantasy firms are still prohibited, and on-court branding signage must be installed at an acceptable distance from the umpire’s chair and the player’s bench.
Interestingly, the recent announcement comes after a string of incidents in which two tennis players – one in Algeria and one in Spain respectively – as well as a French line umpire, were issued with severe penalties for violating the sports’ betting regulations.