LONDON, January 8, 2015
The ATP announced today an increase in prize money for all of the approximately 150 Challenger Tour events taking place every year. At this level, more than 680.000 people attended the matches in 2014. All of the tournaments must provide player hotel accommodation and total prize money on the ATP Challenger Tour was US-$ 9.200.000 last year.
The increases will take place at the lowest category of tournaments with minimum prize money from US-$ 40.000 plus Hospitality to US-$ 50.000 plus Hospitality by 2017. Additionally and with immediate effect, the ATP is offering all current minimum prize money tournaments a subsidy to move up to US-$ 50.000 plus Hospitality from 2015.
“Men’s professional tennis is enjoying one of the most successful periods in its history, however it is essential that we see growth across all levels of the game,” said Chris Kermode, ATP Executive Chairman & President. “Almost every player earns their stripes on the Challenger Tour before they make it on the ATP World Tour and every bit of extra prize money helps as they look to forge a career in men’s professional tennis. The ATP is committed to making that career path as viable as possible.”
The enhancements at Challenger level come following an extensive strategic review by the ATP’s internal Challenger Tour Management Committee, formed at the beginning of 2014 and led by Alison Lee, ATP Executive Vice President of the International Group region. “The success and growth of the ATP Challenger Tour is critical to the overall health of our sport and we need to ensure that the lower levels of the professional game do not get left behind,” said Lee. “The enhancements announced today indicate the ATP’s commitment in reinvesting into the lower echelons of the game and supporting these events. It is a delicate step-by-step process, and our strategy is aimed at raising the lower levels of more than 50% of Challenger events, gradually and with assistance until 2017. Prize money is just one part of the equation. We are also pleased with a number of other enhancements set to take place this year, related to calendar flow, medical services, player development, officiating and marketing, all of which will improve the services we are able to provide players at this level.”
The ATP will also provide additional ATP umpires, ATP physiotherapists and Player Relations staff across a number of tournaments, as well as continuing its focus on ensuring that more tournaments are staged in regional swings which complement ATP World Tour tournaments, enabling players to reduce costs and travel time. Last year 47% of the ATP Challenger Tour takes place in Europe, 21% in Asia, 19% in South America and 13% in North America. Among other enhancements, branded nets will also begin to be featured at ATP Challenger tournaments from 2015. With the majority of Challenger tournaments live streamed across the globe, the net branding will create a unified look for the circuit globally. “We need to get the right Challenger events in the right weeks, reducing travel costs and improving the medical services, player education, officiating and marketing at these events,” added Kermode. “We are taking a holistic approach as we look to make the time players spend at the Challenger level more sustainable.”
The ATP is also working closely with the ITF relating to planned enhancements at Futures tournaments to ensure a seamless pathway for players from Futures to Challenger Level. At the next ITF Board meeting in March, prize money increases for 2016 onwards are proposed measures. At men’s Pro Circuit US-$ 10.000 events should rise to US-$ 15.000 and current US-$ 15.000 events should rise to US-$ 20.000.