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USTA Invests in World Teamtennis

*White Plains, N.Y., January 20, 2009 - *The USTA announced today that it will become a 25% owner of Advanta World TeamTennis Pro League, the unique gender-balanced team format co-founded by tennis legend Billie Jean King.

One of the main goals in the new partnership is to provide an expanded marketing platform for the USTA’s Jr. Team Tennis Program through the Advanta World TeamTennis Pro League teams and players. The Jr. Team Tennis program is a recreational tennis league for children ages 6-18, and features the USTA’s QuickStart format for children under the age of 10. Jr. Team Tennis was established in 1991 to provide youth with all of the health and social benefits of tennis in a co-ed, fun and competitive team environment. USTA Jr. Team Tennis allows for participants to compete with and against individuals of similar skill and age levels and has more than 80,000 participants taking part across the United States, in all 17 USTA Sections.

The Advanta WTT Pro League is a professional co-ed sports league featuring top tour players from more than a dozen countries. The League showcases three generations of tennis standouts, including legends, current tour players and up-and-coming tennis pros, competing on teams throughout the U.S. each summer.

In each of the franchise markets, Advanta WTT Pro League teams and USTA sections will work together on youth initiatives to broaden the reach of QuickStart and Jr. Team Tennis programs. These recreational efforts are becoming integrated with the WTT professional franchises to encourage more young children to take up tennis as a team sport. Jr. Team Tennis leagues are expected to contest some of their playoff and championship matches on the same multi-colored courts used by the WTT pro teams and will also have the opportunity to interact with many of the top players who compete in the Pro League.

This new investment is consistent with other USTA investments in the sport, and will further the USTA’s its mission of growing and developing the sport of tennis in the U.S. Other recent strategic partnerships include investments in the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and Tennis Channel.

“By working with the USTA, we will take World TeamTennis to the next level in the U.S.,” said King. “We’ve been looking for an opportunity like this for a long time and I can’t think of a better partner than the USTA. I’m excited about what the future holds for our partnership.”

“We are thrilled to be once again teaming with one of the greatest ambassadors in tennis, Billie Jean King,” said Lucy S. Garvin, Chairman of the Board and President of the USTA. “The USTA recognizes the reciprocal relationship between the pro game and grassroots play, and our new partnership with World TeamTennis provides us a natural platform to promote our many youth initiatives including Jr. Team Tennis.”

WTT is well known for introducing innovative elements to tennis including instant replay, co-ed format, multi-colored courts, cumulative and no-ad scoring, on-court coaching, and player names on back of their shirts. WTT recently renewed their sponsorship agreement with Advanta for three years. Advanta, the official business credit card of WTT, will continue to be the title sponsor of both the Advanta WTT Pro League and the Advanta WTT Rec League. Advanta also supports Advanta WTT Smash Hits, the annual charity event hosted by Sir Elton John and Billie Jean King which benefits the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

“Our vision is to grow tennis at every level across the country,” said World TeamTennis CEO/Commissioner Ilana Kloss. “We believe the WTT team format can be one of the building blocks to do that. The Advanta WTT Pro League connects professional players and communities in a unique way and can inspire kids to take up tennis as a team sport. That’s an initiative our pro team owners can build on by working with the USTA and the sections to showcase great youth-oriented programs like QuickStart and Jr. Team Tennis.”

The 34th season of the Advanta WTT Pro League runs July 2-26, concluding with the Advanta WTT Championship Weekend. This year, the Advanta WTT Pro League Championship Team and Award winners will be recognized in a special ceremony at the US Open. For more information on World TeamTennis, visit WTT.com.

In the WTT format, each team is comprised of two men, two women and a coach. Team matches consist of five events, with one set each of men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles. The first team to reach five games wins each set. A nine-point tiebreaker is played if a set reaches four all. One point is awarded for each game won. If necessary, Overtime and a Supertiebreaker are played to determine the winner of the match.

 

SportMaster

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