The ATP Tour and Formula 1 have plenty in common, not least that both are inherently international sporting organizations with events and talent spanning the globe. Each is also involved in a Netflix series to showcase the life of the world-class athletes that compete for the top prizes in their respective sports.
ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi sat down with F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali to discuss some of those commonalities and look ahead to the future of tennis through the lens of OneVision, the ATP’s transformational game plan to grow the sport.
“It has been important, very important,” Domenicali said of the Netflix series ‘Formula 1: Drive To Survive’. “I have to say when we had the idea, some of the teams and drivers were saying, ‘We don’t want to be involved.’
“But at the end of the day we are discovering that that was the right decision. It’s a different way of talking about Formula 1.”
Domenicali explained how the Netflix series helped his sport share the stories of his athletes beyond the competition on the track. Gaudenzi has a similar vision for tennis and is excited to provide more behind-the-scenes content to fans.
“It’s a concept of trying to grow the pie and trying to elevate the sport for everybody,” he said. “Ultimately, everybody will benefit.”
That same idea applies to OneVision, as Gaudenzi explained, with the goal of creating engaging and original media to provide a richer fan experience.
“I strongly believe that our sport is very well suited for the digital transformation that is happening,” he said, noting the near-daily competition which provides content nearly 300 days out of the year with more than 64 tournaments, including competition in more than 30 countries.
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Another important part of the OneVision plan centers around elevating the ATP Masters 1000 events as the ATP Tour’s premium product.
“We are also mindful that we need to finance the Challenger Tour,” added Gaudenzi, “because we need the stars of the future, the talent and the younger players to be able to actually make a living when they are preparing for the Tour. ”
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Formula 1 has a similarly tiered system that also includes F2, F3 and F4 as a pipeline to the elite level.
At all levels, both leaders stressed the importance of economic transparency, and the need for all stakeholders to work together.
“I do see the value in the transparency,” Gaudenzi said, replying to Domenicali’s comments on F1’s efforts in that regard. “We’re trying to do the same thing to provide visibility to the players and also a share of the upside, of the future success, with our profit-sharing formula.”
Both agreed that, ultimately, their sports are competing against other sports leagues and the entertainment industry for the time and attention of fans.
“I keep trying to tell my stakeholders that we always have internal fights, [but] we’re actually competing with other sports like Formula 1, soccer or football, NFL,” said Gaudenzi. “We’re also competing with entertainment platforms, whether it’s gaming, whether it’s music, Spotify. We’re competing with Netflix in a way.”
Unity was a constant thread throughout the discussion — the concept that a rising tide lifts all ships — whether that be within the respective sports or across the sports industry as a whole.
“There’s a huge opportunity that comes through unity,” Gaudenzi summarised, “because the individual interest obviously doesn’t always match the collective interest of the sport.”
Domenicali closed with a vote of confidence for the ATP’s OneVision plan, congratulating Gaudenzi on the concept.
“I think will be a big boost up in the system,” he said. “You will have your challenges, but I’m sure that with your credibility and your authenticity, you’re going to be able to achieve that.”
Phase One of OneVision, approved by the ATP Board in June 2022, comes into effect from January 2023. Learn More About OneVision