Archive for the ‘sports business’ Category

tennis warehouse renews partnership with wta’s website

April 4, 2011

Tennis Warehouse continues its dominance of the market, announcing today that they’ve renewed their lonstanding partnership with the WTA. This makes 2011-2012 the 10th year that TW has been the official retailer of the tour’s website.

Release: See the complete media release after the cut…

short balls: tie goes to the winner

October 25, 2010

In this case, that winner was The West Side Tennis Club stadium at Forest Hills, which survived a club members’ vote to destroy the stadium and use the site to build luxury condos. A two-thirds majority was needed for the condo deal to go through, but members instead voted in a 123-123 tie. The future of the club, which hosted the US Open until its move to Flushing Meadows in 1978, is now unknown.

Potty Problem: In case you missed it, Ana Ivanovic had a little bathroom trouble in Linz while working her way to her first career title in two years. FortyDeuce has the video (second from the top). Ivanovic was docked a game for taking too long a break in her second round match against Barbora Strycova.

You betchya: Depending on which way you see it, Roger Federer‘s name was (or is?!) swirling in a betting controversy that claimed Fed provided insider info to IMG agent Ted Forstmann during the 2007 French Open. Federer claims to have no part in the scandal, but a few days after the story broke, Forstmann admitted to betting, but said he received no insider info.

Austrian alliance: Thomas Muster continues his comeback attempt in Vienna this week, where he lucked out by not only receiving a wildcard into the main draw, but then getting a lucky loser in the opening round after Ernests Gulbis pulled out for “personal reasons”. Our fave Austrian, Jurgen Melzer, is the tourney’s top seed.

More short balls including a survey of surveys, short(er) balls and another look at The West Side Tennis Club after the cut. (more…)

short balls: the geography edition

September 29, 2010

Fall is coming to fruition across the country. Well, that is if you don’t live in the Los Angeles area. Southern Cal was hit with quite the heat wave earlier this week – temperatures topping around 113 degrees around downtown. On this week’s short balls, we’re staying away from the heat and traveling around the country (and world!), region by region, to bring you tiny tidbits in URL-linked style.

The Midwest is losing one of its tennis gems, as the stadium that hosted the (formerly-named) RCA Championships – the Indianapolis ATP stop for 21 years – was put to the wrecking ball this past week. (via jon_wertheim) Remember: Better times in Indianapolis, which lost its tourney to Atlanta this past year.

The Southeast | The WTA celebrated the 40th anniversary of what it describes as a day of “rebellion” and “independence” last Thursday, September 23rd. In 1970, Billie Jean King and “The Original Nine” broke away from the tennis czars to form the WTA with help from a few business-savvy folks (and Virginia Slims cigarettes). The total purse at the 1970 Virginia Slims Invitational in Houston? $7,500. The winner took home $1,600, which is one about one tenth the money first-round losers are awarded at today’s majors.

Meanwhile, in the Southwest, Mirjana Lucic continued her winning ways this past week by capturing the title at the USTA Pro Circuit swing in Albuquerque. Lucic took out three Americans on her way to the championship. This week, she’s in action up north at the $50,000 event in Las Vegas.

Further west of Lucic’s success in Big Sur, California, Bob Bryan announced he was engaged to longtime girlfriend Michelle Alvarez. And west coast companies Diesel (Los Angeles) and Nike (Portland, Ore.) have new ad campaigns out. The Diesel campaign, “Kick Ass” takes a sarcastic approach to their shoes kicking ass (literally) and not being fitted for running. Nike’s “BOOM” campaign features several well shot (and edited) commercials. In all those split-second shots of different sports, your not missing a tennis moment. The sport didn’t make the cut for this promotional track, FYI. More FYI: Nike’s Q1 profits were up 9% overall. Maybe thanks to Rafa? Or the bed bugs? Probably Rafa…

More geographical adventures (including a dive into New York City!) after the cut… (more…)

players manage balancing act while prepping for nyc’s big show

August 27, 2010

Kim Clijsters threw out the first pitch after meeting the Mets team in Queens on Friday in New York. A day earlier, she was the USTA’s guest of honor at the draw ceremony (AP photo via Yahoo! Sports).

RalphLauren.com pulled out all the stops on Thursday afternoon for an event featuring Venus Williams, in which Venus took questions from online submissions from around the world in a live clinic. At the Sportime Randall’s Island tennis center in New York, Venus was on court for the first time in a public setting since her eyebrow-raising loss to Tsvetana Pironkova in the quarterfinals at Wimbledon. But instead of thwacking errors and a look of confusion, Venus was all smiles and tennis knowledge in the clinic, which was hosted by the British TV personality (and former player) Annabel Croft.

Venus, who is the no. 3 seed at the US Open and one of the favorites though she hasn’t been on tour in two months, talked fitness, forehands and gave plenty of tennis tips from her 26 years of experience on the court. The event was hosted by Ralph Lauren and Mercedes Benz, based on RL’s homepage for viewers to log in and watch live while Venus answered questions relayed by Croft. (Watch a full replay of the clinic here or click on the image after the jump.)

“It’s good for me to remember the basics when I’m about to play a big tournament,” Venus said, referring to the Open. Venus partnered with Ralph Lauren in the design of the dress she wore, a white number emblazoned with the logo of Eleven, Venus’s clothing line.

Guests were greeted with sweet mint tea, pistachio ice cream sandwiches and caramelized popcorn on the upper deck at Randall’s Island, which hosts the New York Sportimes during the World Team Tennis seasons. Male models clad in red Ralph Lauren polos dished out the goods as Venus strode through the crowd on her way to hair and make up (this was a live, online clinic, after all).

The clinic was a part of a myriad of events happening in New York this week, which all lead up to the big show at Flushing Meadows starting on Monday.

(more…)

oops! she did it again?

August 25, 2010

Oudin knows the camera (phones) will be turned on her over the next two weeks. “Crazy things happen in NYC.” (TSF photo)

Brand Oudin is making its biggest push in New York this week, one year after Melanie Oudin wowed the New York crowds and captured the nation’s attention with her eye-popping upsets. Oudin is part of campaigns with adidas, American Express and Virgin Mobile in and around NYC to promote the Open (and said products), even though the American teen is a dismal 3-11 on tour since May.

The web was buzzing earlier this week with the announcement that Oudin would wear customized adidas shoes, this year with the word “Courage” emblazoned on them. Last year, her “Believe” shoes were a US Open obsession, spawning what many called “Melanie Mania” and setting Oudin up for commercial success with deals with companies like Virgin Mobile. The Women Who Serve blog said if it were really up to Oudin she might have wanted to chose “Forget” to go on her shoes this year… as in forget last year’s Open.

But if Oudin wants to Oops! Do it again, she’ll have to do all those things: have courage, believe in herself and forget. The New York media will be shameless in the coverage and glamorization of Oudin in her return to New York, even the girl has obviously worked hard in the gym (check the adidas link… those biceps!) but hasn’t seen results on the court. Can’t we all just leave her alone? C Note thinks that’ll help, too.

After the cut: ad shots from Oudin’s adidas customized shoe and the American Express video. (more…)

short balls: california girls (and boys)

July 27, 2010

TSF takes over the West Coast this week as I made the drive from Cottonwood, Idaho, (yeah, it exists) to San Francisco yesterday for a little R&R and a day at the Bank of the West Classic tomorrow in Palo Alto, at Stanford. Meanwhile, Erwin is holding court in LA for the Farmers Classic, making sure that the boys adhere to the warm weather shining on SoCal and going shirtless on the practice courts.

This week’s version of short balls comes on Tuesday, a little earlier than usual. Enjoy!

I’ll make the drive down to Palo Alto tomorrow for a day at the 40th annual Bank of the West Classic, now the longest-running women’s event on tour. Bank of the West has been the title sponsor since 1992 at this event, something that is unheard of in the days of fast-moving money. (Remember the Lipton Championships? Or the Kraft WTA Tour? Seems like centuries ago… ) The Bank of the West has been at Stanford’s Taube Tennis Pavilion since 1997, and just this year announced partnership with Rebounces, a green company that runs a tennis-ball recycling program nationwide. Balls brought in by members of the public (and those used in the tournament) will be collected and recycled by Rebounces, with the help of FedEx to get them shipped and donated to a local youth tennis program. Thumbs up to that!

There’s always plenty of tennis action on the pages of Twitter, and this week a few more tennis names added themselves to the never-ending world of Tweets. Janko Tipsarevic asked his followers to “bare” with his bad English (gladly, Janko, gladly). WTAers Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Alisa Kleybanova have also joined the Twitter ranks. Anastasia is playing in Istanbul this week, whiles Kleybs was already dismissed from Stanford by a studious Ana Ivanovic. Before she was bounced outta the Bay Area, Kleybs sat down with Chris Oddo for an interview featured on On The Baseline.

The USTA announced yesterday that it is partnering with longtime supporter American Express for a program called Fresh Courts. The program will invest money in 17 different tennis courts in three urban centers, including Los Angeles, DC and New York. In NYC, the benefactors will be our friends over at McCarren Park in Brooklyn. The USTA will head up the fixing up of the courts themselves, as it oversees around 700 refurbishing projects each year.

For a little bit of a fashion fix, I’m digging this Lacoste v-neck (and the model!) I ran across yesterday. $40 online. Meanwhile, Serena might be questionable for the US Open itself, but that’s not keeping Nike from prepping itself for her outfit at said tourney. The Control Court dress (seen here via TennisConnected) is $85 and might – just might – be made famous by ReRe if she’s able to show at Flushing Meadows come late August. This is the black version of her Wimbledon get up, which helped her to her 13th slam title.

short(er) balls are happening after the cut. (more…)

durex goes loooooong with isner-mahut condom ad

July 23, 2010

SI tennis writer Bryan A. Graham brought to our attention this new condom ad from Durex, featuring highlights from the longest tennis match at history, played at Wimbledon this year between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut. Not sure that you can last for 11 hours and 5 minutes? Go ahead and give it a try, Durex has you covered. (Literally.) Click the image to watch the ad.

More Isner: John is still alive at the Atlanta Tennis Championships as quarterfinals take place today. As is a Britney-inspired Andy Roddick.

More longevity: In Germany, Frantisek Cermak and Michal Mertinek took down Pablo Cuevas and Eduardo Shwank in the first round of doubles with a 6-3, 3-6, 22-20 (match tie-breaker) effort. 42 points is no 138 games, but you gotta give the guys props for going the distance.

(screen grab via youtube)

short balls: tears of joy

July 15, 2010

Dressing, acting and crying like a 12-year-old boy (all so charmingly, might we add!), Rafael Nadal embraced the World Cup in all its glory by cheering on his champs, Spain, in South Africa on Sunday. The Spanish team downed The Netherlands 1-0 to win the country’s first-ever World Cup title, and Rafa got all giddy (and shed some tears) over the futbol success. Looks as though Rafa will keep one foot on the soccer field in the near future as it was also announced last week that he is now a partial shareholder of the Real Mallorca club team.

While one future Hall-of-Famer was in Africa rooting on his countrymen, seven tennis personalities were inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame over the weekend in Newport, R.I. Most notably were the doubles tandems of Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge and Natasha Zvereva and Gigi Fernandez. Brad Parks, one of the founding fathers of wheelchair tennis in America, was also honored, as were Derek Hardwick (a pioneer in modernizing the game to its current Open format) and Owen Davidson (a doubles specialist) were also inducted.

In this economy, it might be good to be a tennis player. The US Open announced that the winner of its men’s and women’s singles titles will walk home with $1.7 million each, with the chance of each winning an extra $1 million for talking the US Open Series crown during the summer. The tournament had a 7% increase overall in payout, bringing its total purse to $22.6 million. Ka-ching!

Donnay, once the racquet of champions, is trying to make a resurgence in the global tennis market. The company launched nine new racquets recently, and will use the success of Yanina Wickmayer (their only notable player) to help market the brand. The company once was a big-time player in tennis as the club of choice for Bjorn Borg, Andre Agassi, Margaret Court and Cliff Drysdale.

There’s a whole lotta short(er) balls and (OT) after the cut.

(more…)

in chicago, wilson anchors duty with design

April 2, 2010

In the outskirts of Chicago, tennis – and sport – behemoth Wilson calls part of an office tower home. The space, just a stone’s throw from O’Hare Airport, is non-descript from the outside: a big, just-out-of-the-city office building, expansive parking lot, Chicago wintry winds and the red ‘Wilson’ christening the side of the top the structure, seemingly simple and corporate.

Inside, however, the space is anything but simple. And to call it corporate would only be accurate in its ability to be a functional, inspiring space. Wilson occupies five floors in the building, including the top three. The 2007 move from the building next door provided the company to make thoughtful, sustainable and modern decisions on how to utilize its new space both as a workplace and an area to encourage creative interaction by those who work there and those who visit.

Said visitors are greeted in the Wilson lobby by a vast wall that hosts black and white photos of Wilson employees, coaches, trainers, athletes and superstars. The view provides a sort of story-telling for the Wilson name over the last 100 years, since the brand launched in 1914. Images of tennis players are aplenty, their equipment and dress anchored in their era and style. There’s Lindsay Davenport rocking her mid-90s Girl Next Door look. And there’s Pete Sampras winning the Open in 2002. The expansive space beyond the wall (pictured below) displays product in a minimalist, museum-inspired way, using outside light to brighten the room and create a feeling of excitement about the possibilities of sport, and, from Wilson’s point of view, their name.

Read more about the Wilson headquarters and find out what the day in a life of a Wilson touring team member entails after the cut.

(more…)

short balls: let’s get physical

February 10, 2010

Somehow the tennis news is still pumping 10 days following the completion of the Australian Open. There was plenty of action this past weekend with the first round of Fed Cup being contested around the world. The biggest story to come out of the weekend on the American front was the success of Melanie Oudin, who returned to her Fed Cup-roots to find a couple of big-time wins when she needed them the most. Oudin followed up that success in Paris this week, winning in convincing fashion over a spiraling Sorana Cirstea.

1, 2, 3: It’s no Britney holiday re-make, but ESPN360.com, which housed several courts of action during the Aussie, will change to ESPN3.com this coming spring. In the release, the company said that tennis coverage will include, “Hundreds of hours of multi-court coverage of all four “grand slam” events as well as select other events.” Kudos, ESPN. Now if only they could broaden their contract with internet providers, we can all be happy.

Swimsuits in February? The tennis-struggling Ana Ivanovic continues the way of the Other Anna, posing for this year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. We do love the bed of light-pink tennis balls (Wilson’s Hope balls) Ana is lying on in her main shot, but can’t help but wonder if the Serb really understands what she’s making of her career. Is it inevitable she’ll go the retirement route in the next 24 months? It’s certainly possible. But if she does, we really hope she doesn’t stick with the stylist who suggested the tennis-net-as-accessory move. Just not okay, Ana.

Another tennis beauty actually graces the cover of the SI Swimsuit Issue. Andy Roddick‘s wife, Brooklyn Decker was chosen as the cover model for the mag.  Roddick Tweeted about the accomplishment, oozing excitement for his partner. We’ve got to wonder: is it weird for Andy? At least Brooklyn didn’t go the way of the NBA’s George Hill. Oops. Hey George, people save text messages and pictures! It’s a new thing in the 21st century. Get used to it.

Power brokering: While Ivanovic might be making a name for herself more with her off-court moves than her on-court ones, she did sign a lifelong deal with adidas this week, which included ambassadorship after retirement. Roger Federer, whose career and corporate appeal have stayed alive because of superior tennis, was named by Forbes Magazine as the third most powerful name in sports. #4? Mirka. Well, on our list, at least…

Ken is her trophy: This week it was unveiled that Kim Clijsters would have a Barbie doll created after her, honoring her 2009 U.S. Open win. If nothing else, we’re happy to see the doll is donning Kim’s USO outfit, that comfortable Fila look that made her look so business-like but sporty. Good thing it’s not Kim Wedding Barbie, right?

The Midwest’s Slam: I’ve been reading Jon Wertheim‘s Venus Envy this week, throwing myself into the world of the WTA circa 2000 when Vanessa Webb was a familiar name and Oklahoma City still hosted a mid-winter event. The Midwest’s slam seems to have shifted to Cincinnati, where the summer events on the WTA and ATP tours will merge in 2011 in grand fashion, stadium upgrades and all.

Big booties finish second: Find out who Serena Williams thinks would beat her out in a Booty Battle. We weren’t too surprised, either.

ivanovic gets tenure, loses fed cup rubbers

February 8, 2010

I know it’s turning out to be a heavy flow day from adidas, but we have one more bit…

Silver lining: In the wake of her dismal Fed Cup performance against Russia (which saw her lose both singles rubbers and the doubles rubber), Ana Ivanovic can take a breather after an announcement today that she’ll extended her partnership with adidas to last for her whole career — and she’ll even become a brand ambassador once she retires. “I feel thrilled to be a member of the adidas family and I am very much looking forward to working with adidas on many projects in the future,” she shared through a press release.

Here’s hoping Ana will find her game soon. Otherwise, she’ll be a brand ambassador before she knows it!

See-through: We’re all about that ton-sur-ton jacquard white top that she wore for her doubles match (alongside Jelena Jankovic), though we were hoping she’d have picked a different, bolder color for her singles rubbers.

(image via Getty)

get ‘em while they’re squishy

October 4, 2009

Dinara Safina was greeted by a big fan club of one (see background) upon arriving in Beijing this last week. Well, that’s actually just Gumby’s blue cousin, Blumby. He’s waving with fervor, and Dinara is def doing her best to ignore him. She’s obviously supes embarrassed.

With the China Open officially under the way we did some perusing on their web site to find some 中网纪念品  – or, in English, “China Open souvenirs”  Our first fave is these miniature key chains:
Mad-colorful-balls-ChinaOpen09
But they don’t top these gems below. These squishy friends are sporting tennis onesies (a skirt for the female and shorts for the male) and remind me of drawings I did as a child before I knew people had bodies and connected their legs to their heads. Loves it.Squishy-onesies-ChinaOpen09

After the cut, see the Olympic Stadium all ready for the tourney. (more…)

a tourney tee that takes the cake

August 23, 2009

Tourney merch almost always disappoints, so we smile when we see stuff on the rack that doesn’t scream “Let me show you my mad Word Art and MS Paint skillz.”

Lump into that “buy” category this vintage-inspired women’s tee available for sale at the Pilot Pen Tennis tournament store.

Our only beef? They didn’t make it a unisex tee. Why do guys always get the short end of the stick?

Edit: It turns out that Verdasco was into this tee, too, and asked Pilot Pen tournament director Anne Worcester for an extra large. See? Even the players want in!

definitely possibly: andy murray’s wimbledon run begins

June 23, 2009

robert-kendrick-wimbledon09a

Hometown hope Andy Murray shook off the British curse that plagued Day 1 of this year’s Wimbledon — no local survived to Round 2 — and gave American Robert Kendrick a little window of chance before taking their first round match 7-5, 6-7 (3), 6-3, 6-4.

A different strain of clothing: Kendrick’s wearing a clean kit from his sponsor, Athletic DNA. The brand is taking a non-conventional approach to its branding, eschewing the traditional (no lookbook, no product samples) and focusing instead on the juniors (Facebook, college tennis websites); Nike, for instance, won’t give a kid the time of day until they smell like a pro.

So what does this mean for us consumers? The only means to procure their goods is via the company website (the store should be up and running in less than a week). And for those of you wondering: yes, they will sell Kendrick’s awesome animal print crew tank — the one he wore at this year’s French Open.

(image via Getty Images)

something’s fishy in delray beach

February 20, 2009

The inventive folks at Delray Beach ITC are back at it again with additions to the graffiti artwork on their tourney’s show court.

As you may remember, they made a splash at last year’s tournament by painting waves on the court’s back walls.

This time, they’ve brought back artist Doug Hoekzema to embellish the side walls with iconic Florida fish like wahoo and marlin, and extending the “rippling water” effect on the court surface to cover the entire perimeter.

Sugar daddy: It wasn’t too long ago that the fate of this second round of tagging was in question because of the financial crisis. Thankfully, artist William Debilzan swooped in to underwrite the project.

Along with funding the murals, Debilzan, who has galleries in Delray Beach, Laguna Beach, and Santa Fe, will also paint two pieces during the tournament; they’ll be presented to the City of Delray Beach during TV coverage of the semifinals.

Other goods: We’ve also been asked to look out for some new-and-improved Volley Girls (this time dressed in sportier attire, courtesy of the Porsche Design Group). Also, they have a new trophy that, hopefully, will be a fine addition to the TSF Trophy Watch.

Quite a catch: Perrenial “comeback king” Lleyton Hewitt accepted a wild card to the ITC, marking the first time he’s been back to Delray Beach since winning the tournament’s inaugural title in this city back in 1999.

“It’s good to go back to Delray Beach; it’s been a long time since I’ve played there,” said Hewitt, who turns 28 on Tuesday. “The surface has changed as well. I won there on green clay courts, and it’s going to be good to go back and play on hard court. I’m looking forward to it.”

The Australian is currently battling for the Regions Morgan Keegan title in Memphis. He upset third seed James Blake in the first round and compatriot Chris Guccione in the round after. He next faces Belgian Christophe Rochus for a spot in the quarterfinals. Their half of the draw also includes Sam Querrey and top seed (and wildcard) Andy Roddick.

More: See some pics of the artists in action after the cut…

borging while blogging can be hazardous to your health

February 4, 2009

A recent video on the Bjorn Borg website shows a guy and a gal duking it out on the tennis court while wearing very little of the spring 09 skivvies and shorts.

If only ATP tournaments were contested this way…

Watch:In Action“, bjornborg.com. Screencaps below.

cnbc on nadal’s “wardrobe malfunction”

January 26, 2009

We had a chance to weigh in on Rafael Nadal‘s new Nike look when CNBC’s Darren Rovell put it under the business microscope.

So did the sports giant make the right move with this sartorial switch? Rovell thinks so. In fact, it’s the only way to make their relationship with this tennis thoroughbred financially viable.

Read: See the entire post at CNBC.com.

a little taste of europe in palm springs

January 15, 2009

bnp-paribas-open09

So long, humpback: We are still mourning the loss of Pacific Life as the title sponsor to the combined event at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in California. Theirs was such a great trophy…

For now we can be distracted by trying to drill the tournament’s new name — the BNP Paribas Open — into our minds and fingers when we blog about it every March. They’re in for the long haul, too: the bank is the event’s sponsor for the next five years.

As expected, there’s a new URL (bnpparibasopen.org) and the old Pacific Life one no longer works (delete it).

more on james blake + fila

January 14, 2009

The Fila camp sent out a release this morning with more details about their new partnership with the un-swooshed James Blake.

The yet-to-be-named collection will incorporate the heritage of the Fila brand with a contemporary twist inspired by Blake’s signature style. And to that end they have started the process. “We have not started designing collection,” they told us by email. “[But] we spent hours w/ James to discuss apparel & footwear w/ our design team before he left for Australia.”

The co-branded collection targeting the active male will be the basis for developing a long-term licensing business for Blake. It’ll include apparel (tennis, golf, fitness, and lifestyle), footwear (performance and lifestyle), plus accessories. Fila and James Blake will also explore other product categories as opportunities arise in the market. (headshaving razors, maybe?)

And just like all great fashion milestones, the collection will debut in New York, with a limited release just before the 2009 U.S. Open. The clothes will be available the following spring.

He’s wearing Collezione: James will be wearing the Collezione collection at the season’s first Major. “Ever since Borg graced the courts of Wimbledon in Fila, I have always been attracted to the Italian style, grace and sophistication of the Fila brand.” He’ll look good in it! Pics of the kit will be posted mañana.

Bad break-up? Either that or Blake’s webmaster was too busy picking his nose while photoshopping these pics on James’ official site. You don’t need to be so obvious about deleting Nike from your life! (Make sure to scroll to the bottom.)


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