The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has announced an increase in the prize money of the Billie Jean King Cup Finals, the women's world team championship, the final part of which will be held in November in Glasgow. After the tournament got a new main sponsor - the financial company Gainbridge, which is managed by the Group 1001 investment holding, the prize pool of its final part reached $11.4 million and became the same as that of the Davis Cup final.
As it became known to Kommersant, the International Tennis Federation announced another increase in the prize money of the final part of the Billie Jean King Cup, the main team tennis tournament for women, which is an analogue of the men's Davis Cup and has the status of a world championship. Since this year, the so-called compensation fund of these competitions, consisting of prize money due to players and national federations, is $ 11.4 million, that is, exactly the same as in the Davis Cup. At the same time, $ 8 million of this amount will be divided between the athletes, and $ 3.4 million between the federations.
Over the past four years, the "compensation fund" of the final part of the Billie Jean King Cup has grown more than three times. It was $3.7 million in 2018, $7.5 million in 2019, and $10.2 million in the previous two seasons. The new increase was made possible after the tournament changed its main sponsor. BNP Paribas, which has been its key partner since 2005, was replaced by the American financial company Gainbridge, which is managed by the Group 1001 investment holding with assets of $58 billion. For Gainbridge, by the way, this is not the first investment in professional sports. In particular, for three years she has been a sponsor of the legendary Indy 500 race held in Indianapolis.
For the Billie Jean King Cup, this event can be considered historic, because in terms of prize money it caught up with the Davis Cup for the first time. That this has never happened before is not surprising. Although at the Grand Slam tournaments the prize money for men and women has been equal for 15 years (Wimbledon was the last major to introduce this rule in 2007), in general, women's tennis income is significantly inferior to men's, and to overcome this difference, the leadership of the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) agreed with a large company CVC Capital Partners on investments in the amount of $150 million (see Kommersant dated September 22).
“The agreement with Gainbridge has become another example of the ITF’s consistent line of attracting large-scale investments in tennis and establishing a single prize level for men’s and women’s team championships,” says Alexei Selivanenko, member of the ITF Board of Directors. “In addition, it once again demonstrates that tennis is interesting asset.
This year, the final part of the Billie Jean King Cup will be held from November 8 to 13 in Glasgow, where sixteen teams will compete for the honorary trophy. Among them, however, will not be the current winner, the Russian team, which a few months ago, by decision of the ITF, was suspended from participation in the tournament due to the events in Ukraine.