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Episode 88 of the Leaders Sport Business Podcast features a conversation with USTA Professional Tennis CEO and newly named US Open Tournament Director Stacey Allaster (discussion starts at 6:19). The former WTA President has had one of the most difficult jobs in sport of late (in what is, admittedly, a crowded field), as she and her team at the USTA have battled to form a workable plan to go ahead with the US Open Grand Slam tennis tournament in its traditional slot in early September. Against a backdrop of multiple competing interests, huge financial concerns, and a public health situation that continues to rage hard around the world but especially in the US, a plan was approved just last week.
On the conversational agenda:
– The many barriers to a return-to-play plan and how to overcome them;
– The six key questions that needed to be answered in order to create ‘US Open World’;
– The three tiers of exposure and the special set-up that’s set to cost an extra $8 million;
– The cracks in the crust of tennis’s complicated stakeholder planet;
“I do hope that enhanced collaboration and coordination can come out of the pandemic. We all go inside to our own fiduciary responsibilities to our organisations versus looking externally at modifying our product and competing in a very competitive sports and entertainment industry. And maybe this will be a moment, particularly on the commercial side, to come together.” Stacey Allaster, USTA Professional Tennis CEO.
– The Adria Tour and the personal responsibility that athletes should have;
– The enhanced collaboration with other stakeholders in tennis and beyond, and the potential for consolidation.