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ITF ‘bounces back’ from Covid-19 as revenue exceeds pre-pandemic levels by 10.8%

David Haggerty points to “strong pipeline of commercial developments” following Davis Cup partnership split with Kosmos.

19 July 2023 Ed Dixon

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  • World tennis’ governing body sees revenue rise 47.6% YoY to US$98.3m for 2022 financial year
  • Post-tax profits from operating activities increase by US$13.9m to US$5.6m
  • ITF ended US$3bn Davis Cup partnership with Kosmos at start of 2023

The International Tennis Federation’s (ITF) president David Haggerty believes the global governing body has “bounced back from the pandemic” after it revealed revenue for the 2022 financial year exceeded pre-Covid levels by 10.8 per cent.

The ITF posted revenue of US$98.3 million for 2022, up 47.6 per cent year-over-year (YoY), a figure which also represented an uptick on 2019’s pre-pandemic total of US$88.7 million,

The organisation increased post-tax profits from its operating activities by US$13.9 million to US$5.6 million in 2022 from a pandemic-impacted deficit of US$8.3 million in 2021.

The ITF added that it was able to convert the majority of its income into US$85 million of contribution to global tennis last year, up 30.2 per cent from US$65.3million in the Covid-impacted 2021. This includes spending US$12 million on international tennis development, marking a 44.9 per cent YoY increase.

The ITF board also chose to invest US$3 million after tax into strategic projects, including the ‘World Tennis Number’ and ‘Balanced Calendar’ project. However, its investment portfolio produced a negative US$5 million return in 2022, though the body said this reflected global financial market performance.

‘ITF2024’, introduced in mid-2016 to provide a long-term plan for sustainable growth, was also praised by the governing body. The ITF revealed that the plan enabled record levels of funding for global tennis, with the organisation’s reinvestment in the game having grown by 95.4 per cent since ITF2024 was launched.

Other areas singled out in the ITF’s annual review included participation numbers on the ITF World Tennis Tour. In 2022, 10,216 players participated in 1,059 tournaments, split evenly across the men’s and women’s game (526 and 533 tournaments respectively), which were held in 65 countries. Players also competed for a record US$25 million in total prize money last year. 

Furthermore, the men’s Davis Cup and women’s Billie Jean King Cup competitions enjoyed record participation, with 145 nations competing in the Davis Cup and 110 nations in the Billie Jean King Cup.

The ITF added that the revamped finals of both events attracted ‘strong TV viewership’ and ‘good fan engagement’, aided by the first-time triumphs of Canada and Switzerland respectively.

“2022 produced many highlights as we bounced back from the pandemic, with Davis Cup and Billie Jean King Cup enjoying record participation and prize money through to our Junior Tennis Initiative reaching 18 per cent more young people,” said Haggerty.

“Everything is guided by our ITF2024 strategy for sustainable growth, and I’m delighted it’s had such an impact. The ITF is now able to contribute nearly twice the funding for the global game than before we introduced the strategy in mid-2016. The ITF Board will continue to make decisions on where investment is needed, from our sport’s grassroots to its highest levels.

“The ITF’s finances are robust, we maintain significant reserves and we have a strong pipeline of commercial developments that will help support the game globally. Now it’s about the future and we have an ambitious vision for the game we love.

“I’m excited by what’s in front for tennis, especially as a sport that benefits so much from a real commitment to gender parity and international development.”

Kelly Fairweather, ITF chief executive, added: “Few sports are as truly global as tennis and this really helps our efforts to ensure it thrives in the future.

“It is highly visible at the elite level, with the top tier of the game – the Grand Slam tournaments, ATP and WTA tours, Davis Cup and Billie Jean King Cup by Gainbridge – providing ample inspiration and role models for fans and aspiring players of all abilities, as does the four-yearly spectacle of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“We are committed to using this global platform to grow the game, both through the staging of major events and our reinvestment activities.”

The annual review arrives after the ITF got off to a rocky start to 2023 when it confirmed its lucrative partnership with investment group Kosmos for the Davis Cup had ended. The pair had signed a 25-year, US$3 billion agreement in 2018 which aimed to transform the national team tournament and boost revenues for global tennis development.

Announcing the news, the ITF said at the time that it was ‘focused on the future growth of the largest annual international team competition in sport’ and that ‘ensured financial contingences’ remained in place.

The Davis Cup, which began 123 years’ ago, is still looking for new partners to fill the Kosmos void, though Haggerty’s comment regarding a “strong pipeline of commercial developments” suggests the ITF is optimistic of securing fresh backing for the tournament.

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