SAA link with ATP grounded

2013-01-02 09:19

Johannesburg - Cash-strapped Tennis SA (TSA) on Monday received a further blow, with the termination of SA Airways' (SAA) five-year deal as the official ATP airline and title sponsor of the organisation's world rankings.

The deal - which provided South Africa and South African tennis with international exposure in more than 150 countries over the past five years - was worth approximately R320 million.

ATP executive chairperson and president Brad Drewett announced that airline Emirates would replace SAA on a new five-year deal to come into effect at the start of 2013.

"The deal between the ATP and SAA was between the two organisations and did not directly involve the South African Tennis Association," TSA spokesman Bruce Davidson said.

"But it kept the focus on South Africa globally on a daily basis and indirectly was greatly beneficial for the country's tennis image.

"It was also SAA's link with the ATP that paved the way for the re-introduction of the South African Open on the world's premier circuit in 2009," he said.

SAA sponsored the event at Montecasino in Johannesburg for three years.

Without a major sponsor to replace SAA, the South African Open's presence on the ATP world tour was aborted in 2012. It would not continue in 2013.

Davidson confirmed the termination of SAA's link with the ATP had also ended the national airline's injection of finance into South African tennis.

Following a major overhaul in SAA's administration, the airline tried to terminate the deal with the ATP before its expiry at the end of 2012, as part of a major campaign to cut spending.

But the ATP turned down the request and held SAA to its commitment, pending the signing of a new airline partner and sponsor. This culminated in the link-up with Emirates and a switch in naming rights of the men's world rankings.


  • freddie.jones.58367 - 2013-01-02 10:39

    "The deal - was worth approximately R320 million." A a taxpayer and therefore subsidiser of SAA, I see the deal not as 'worth' R320M but as 'costing' R320M. From the same viewpoint, I see this a a GOOD move.

      lownabester - 2013-01-02 10:45

      We could not even host the Davis Cup against Canada. and That idiot Mabula jets all over the worldm he is suppose to be our Min of sport. He is a useless...........

      sandra.j.rennie - 2013-01-02 11:06

      From one cash strapped sport to another cash strapped Airline ! Why am I not surprised?

  • peter.cornelius.39 - 2013-01-02 10:45

    Destroy local sport, pay huge bonuses to board members... The African way :(

  • osmaseko - 2013-01-02 11:38

    What have they won?

      Fishlus - 2013-01-02 12:06

      Nothing, becasue they are cash strapped. You need money for coaching and a whole host of other logiostical issues. The sports ministery should hang its head in shame. Would this happen to Bafoona .Bafoona? And now we are going to have Arabs sponsoring our national tennis team. What are they going to call themselves now? United Arab Emirates team of SA?

      tamlin.vanheerver - 2013-01-02 18:36

      @Fishus.... R320m! cash strapped , they gave them R320m and they couldnt even win anything.. jeezlike wake up. Rather give that money to our swimmers at least they seem to be winning with almost nothing. You can only throw so much money on a donkey racing in the grand nationals, .....its never going to win. The tennis players should hang their heads in shame not the minister, if I dont succeed I dont blame others I blame myself for not training HARDER than a person who is better than me!

  • Fishlus - 2013-01-02 12:18

    Bet this would not happen to our idiot soccer team who cannot win anything of significance. They beat the minnows and choke against anything that could be considered competition At lease the Tenni palyers have tried their best to represent SA and now our fantastically useless national airline goes and drops them so that their balance sheet can look better

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