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Thought some of you might find this interesting:


RCA, Legg Mason tennis events sue ATP

By Terry Horne
[email protected]
February 05, 2002
Men's professional tennis, still reeling from the collapse of a billion-dollar marketing deal, now faces a revolt in its ranks.
The organizers of the RCA Championships in Indianapolis filed a federal lawsuit Monday accusing the men's pro tennis group, the ATP Tour Inc., and its chief executive officer, Mark Miles, of operating an illegal cartel, controlling when and where professional tennis players compete.

Also filing the suit against ATP and Miles was the
Washington Tennis and Education Foundation, which organizes the Legg Mason Tennis Classic held in the nation's capital. Rob MacGill, tournament director for the RCA Championships, could not be reached for comment. However, the tournament's organizing group, Indianapolis Tennis Championships Inc., accused ATP and Miles of trying to steer revenues to ATP and a group of tournaments known as the Tennis Masters Series.

In 1999, ATP signed a 10-year, $1.2 billion deal with Swiss-based ISL Worldwide for the marketing rights to these tournaments as well as the broadcast rights to other ATP events. The Indianapolis and Washington tournaments said ATP, without telling them, arranged to funnel the dollars to a separate group, Tennis Property Limited. The ownership of this group was divided equally between ATP and the organizers of the Tennis Masters tournaments. The ISL deal collapsed last year when ISL declared bankruptcy, and ATP subsequently laid off 15 of 84 staff members, according to press reports.

The Indianapolis and Washington tournaments accused ATP of manipulating event schedules since then to benefit its favored tournaments. The suit alleges that ATP tried to coerce NBC to boycott the Indianapolis tournament and broadcast a Tennis Masters event. Miles, who served as director of the Indianapolis tournament for two years in the late 1980s, could not be reached for comment. David C. Campbell, an attorney representing both tournaments, declined comment.
The Washington and Indianapolis tournaments were both ATP events but not part of the Tennis Masters Series. The tournament groups said ATP forced top players in 2001 to sign tour agreements limiting their play in the weeks of Tennis Masters events. This forced Washington, Indianapolis and other groups, which were not part of that series, to compete for players during the few remaining weeks available. This hurt their ability to attract top players, they said.

The lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis, seeks unspecified damages and court orders ending the alleged violations of antitrust law and interference in business contracts
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