Report: Saudi Arabian PIF makes offer to merge ATP and WTA Tours

European news outlets are reporting that it is a time-sensitive offer


The Telegraph and Daily Mail are two media outlets reporting that the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (PIF) has made a "time-sensitive" offer to revamp professional tennis. Many details are unknown or difficult to verify, but here are the basics.

The offer is said to expire in 90 days with no room for negotiation because it is a "take it or leave it" deal. ATP Tour chief Andrea Gaudenzi shared the information with tournament organizers at Indian Wells. The offer's value has come into question with some reporting that it is a $1 billion offer, and others saying it is a $2 billion offer.

What is known about the offer is that it is based on the premise of merging the ATP and WTA under one umbrella. The cost variable is due to the fact that some say it is a $1 billion deal to combine both entities, but others say it is a $1 billion dollar offer for each entity. Grand Slam tournaments (Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open) are reportedly excluded from the offer.

What happens next?

PIF recently invested in a sponsorship deal with the ATP so in some respects, it is not surprising that it wants to add the WTA. The WTA has reportedly been in talks for some time about having the WTA Finals event in Saudi Arabia so the parties are familiar with each other.

No one knows what the ATP or WTA plans to do with the offer. If the offer is accepted, the majority of professional tennis will be Saudi-backed and funded. This could cause issues with the athletes some of which have already expressed concern about PIF's initial involvement given the human rights issues in Saudi Arabia.

If the offer is not accepted, what will PIF's next move be? Could it decide to establish its own tournaments and tour for player participation? If so, this move would bring the business model closer to what has happened in professional golf with the LIV Tour.

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