The ATP Tour and Formula 1 have a lot in common, not least the fact that both are inherently international sports organizations with events and talent across the globe. Each is also involved in a Netflix series to showcase the lives of world-class athletes who compete for top prizes in their respective sports.
ATP President Andrea Gaudenzi sat down with F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali to discuss some of these commonalities and look at the future of tennis through the lens of OneVision, the plan to ATP’s transformational game to develop the sport.
“It was important, very important,” Domenicali said of the Netflix series “Formula 1: Drive To Survive.” “I have to say that when we came up with the idea, some teams and some drivers were like, ‘We don’t want to be involved.’
“But in the end we find out it was the right decision. It’s another way of talking about Formula 1.”
Domenicali explained how the Netflix series has helped his sport share the stories of his athletes beyond competing on the track. Gaudenzi has a similar vision for tennis and is excited to provide more behind-the-scenes content for fans.
“It’s a concept of trying to make the pie bigger and trying to elevate the sport for everyone,” he said. “In the end, everyone will benefit.”
This 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 to the digital transformation underway,” he said, noting the almost daily competition that delivers content nearly 300 days a year with more than 64 tournaments, including competitions in more than 30 countries.
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Another important part of the OneVision plan is to make the ATP Masters 1000 events the premium product of the ATP Tour.
“We are also aware that we need to fund the Challenger Tour,” Gaudenzi added, “because we need stars of the future, talent and young players to be able to really earn a living as they prepare for the Tour.”
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Formula 1 has a similar tiered system which 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 see the value of transparency,” Gaudenzi said, responding to Domenicali’s comments about F1’s efforts in this regard. “We’re trying to do the same to give players visibility and also a share of the upside, future success, with our profit sharing formula.”
Both agreed that ultimately their sports compete with other sports leagues and the entertainment industry for time and fan attention.
“I keep trying to tell my stakeholders that we still have internal fights, [but] we are actually competing with other sports like Formula 1, soccer or football, the NFL,” Gaudenzi said. “We also compete with entertainment platforms, whether it’s games, music or Spotify. We are sort of in competition with Netflix.
Unity was a common thread throughout the discussion – the concept that a rising tide lifts all ships – whether in the respective sports or across the sports industry.
“There is a huge opportunity that comes from unity,” summed up Gaudenzi, “because the individual interest obviously does not always correspond to the collective interest of the sport.”
Domenicali closed with a vote of confidence for the ATP’s OneVision plan, praising Gaudenzi for the concept.
“I think it will be a big boost in the system,” he said. “You will have your challenges, but I am sure that with your credibility and your authenticity, you will be able to achieve it.”
The first phase of OneVision, approved by the ATP Board of Directors in June 2022, comes into effect from January 2023. Learn more about One Vision