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Tennis-Von Arnim aims to fix Davis Cup finances if voted ITF chief


By Shrivathsa Sridhar

PARIS (Reuters) – Dragging the Davis Cup out of financial doldrums after the termination of its $3 billion agreement with Kosmos Tennis will be among Dietloff von Arnim’s top priorities if he is elected International Tennis Federation (ITF) president, the German told Reuters.

Von Arnim will challenge incumbent president David Haggerty of the United States in the election to be held on Sept. 24 at the ITF’s Annual General Meeting in Cancun, Mexico for a four-year term starting in 2024.

The 63-year-old Von Arnim, the chief of the German Tennis Federation, could face an uphill task if he is elected after the ITF ended a 25-year, $3 billion agreement with former Barcelona soccer player Gerard Pique’s Kosmos Tennis in January.

That deal was unveiled in 2018 amid fanfare over promises to deliver “long-term benefits” for fans and all stakeholders, but its premature end meant the sport’s governing body had to begin looking for like-minded partners and sponsors again.

“Where can we find new revenue streams inside the ITF? We have the Davis Cup where we have an economically … unhappy situation at the moment,” Von Arnim, who announced his candidacy last week, told Reuters at the French Open.

“It (the Kosmos deal) was guaranteeing the ITF money and this money is gone now, so we have a real problem.

“So when we talk about innovation, it means investment as well. And then we have to think about digitalisation. This is one of the revenue streams which at the moment is too small.”


The ITF said earlier this year it had in place financial contingencies and would operate the 2023 Davis Cup qualifiers and finals as scheduled, with the Final 8 taking place in Malaga, Spain, in November.

The Kosmos agreement had led to the revamp of the men’s team competition, which was founded in 1900. The usual home-and-away ties played over a few weekends during the course of the year were scrapped.

That format was replaced in 2019 with one home-and-away round of ties that was followed by 18-teams competing in one city for a week-long climax to the season.

“It’s such a great event, there’s no doubt about it. It’s known all over the world. So at the moment, we have to make it financially stable again,” said Von Arnim, tournament director at the World Team Cup in Dusseldorf from 2004-2012.

“It’s not that we go back to the old format, that we go to a new format. We have to get the sponsors to the table and we have to get the media to the table… then make a careful decision.

“We have to make the product better… from the sport’s point of view, we have to make it successful again and then I have no doubt we’ll find sponsors, we can commercialise the event, we’ll find media partners.”

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Paris)

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