Will Indian Wells be sold to China?? - MensTennisForums.com
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post #1 of 139 (permalink) Old 08-01-2005, 02:10 PM Thread Starter
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Will Indian Wells be sold to China??

This is a complicated story -- complicated by the death of McCormick, the insane debt load of the tournament, and now city politics and USTA politics.

Tennis investors: Make first move
Tourney must be refinanced, USTA on board, group says

Leighton Ginn
The Desert Sun
July 29, 2005

Magazine publishing magnate George Mackin, one of the partners in a investor syndicate formed to financially help keep the Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, wants to emphasize his group's participation is not a slam dunk.
And neither is the participation of the United States Tennis Association.

In his first extensive interview about the Pacific Life Open, Mackin, a media business veteran and co-owner of Tennis magazine with Spin and Vibe magazine owner Bob Miller, said there is a series of events that need to come together for the deal to happen.

Mackin said it is crucial the city of Indian Wells and locally based PM Sports, which owns 50 percent of the international tennis tournament, come to an agreement soon on refinancing of the $39 million mortgage on the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

Because of the $3.9 million debt service the tournament pays annually on the mortgage, the Pacific Life Open has lost money since the 2002 event.

PM Sports wants to refinance the loan from an 8 percent interest rate to 6 percent or lower. In order to refinance, the tournament needs the help of Indian Wells.

Once the refinancing is in place, PM Sports will need to get the board of the USTA to agree on helping in the financing the $24 million buyout of business partners International Management Group, which owns the other half of the tournament.

Mackin and Miller's group, The Tennis Company, will finance a large part of the buyout.

IMG wanted to accept an offer to move to China since March, but have agreed to let PM Sports put together a syndicate for a buyout.

Deal hinges on USTA

Mackin made it clear: Without the USTA, his syndicate will pull out of the deal.
And right now, Mackin said chances of the USTA getting involved is 50-50.

"It's all contingent on Indian Wells," Mackin said. "If Indian Wells can work out their pending deal with (PM Sports owners Raymond Moore and Charlie Pasarell), that is just a first step of keeping the event in the desert."

The council will meet on Thursday, but Moore said he doubts any decision would be made by then.

Tournament organizers have estimated that the Pacific Life Open has a $140 million impact on the Coachella Valley tourism industry each March.

City Councilman Rob Bernheimer said the next council meeting after that is on Sept. 15.

However, Bernheimer said the council would hold a special meeting if needed. Bernheimer wouldn't hazard to guess when a deal would be completed.

Bernheimer also emphasized Indian Wells is not holding up anything.

"I don't know if we can set a timetable of how long it will take," Bernheimer said. "It's their timetable, not our timetable. We've done everything we've been asked to meet their needs.

"The timetable is in their court. The city is doing nothing to delay a timetable."

Bernheimer said the urgency is coming from Cleveland-based sports and lifestyle marketing giant IMG, which has been anxious to get out of its partnership with PM Sports.

"They can do it quickly if they do it at the right price," Bernheimer said. "If (IMG) wants to get out quickly, they have to consider the price they set. That's sort of basic business."

Over the weekend at the USTA meetings in Charleston, S.C., the board of the White Plains, N.Y.-based tennis organization was presented with the idea of using some of its $150-million portfolio to invest in the tournament, the fifth largest in the world in terms of attendance.

Mackin wanted to emphasize it's too early to tell.

"This part I want to be crystal clear about. It was a little overstated about the (USTA)'s eagerness to invest," Mackin said. "They asked us, 'Would you do this without us?' I emphatically said 'No.' If the USTA doesn't come in, we won't, and the USTA board is not close.

"This is an uphill battle to get the board to endorse the investment. We're fighting the fight . If that happens, we come in with our investment."

City must make first move

The USTA, which is working on its U.S. Open Series of tournaments leading up to the U.S. Open on Aug. 29-Sept. 11, will not make any decisions on financing until its board meeting in October in San Antonio, Texas. Mackin said he hopes the city of Indian Wells will not wait that long.
"I think it's important Indian Wells understands this isn't even close and it will go nowhere without them," Mackin said. "If Indian Wells steps up and supports this at the level we need them to, not only will the tournament have a chance to get the USTA, but a chance to get a media company and a considerable list of strategic investor.

"We get the green light to go to the next step once Indian Wells steps on board. I think they have to do it sooner than later. It they wait until October, it becomes problematic. If it's resolved right away, we can go to the next step."

Moore said Indian Wells' next meeting is Thursday, but doubts they will get an answer by then. The next meeting will be Sept. 15.

"I don't think we will get a feeling one way or the other until September," Moore said.

However, Moore reiterated he is happy with the cooperation he's gotten from Indian Wells.

Mackin and Miller are co-owners of Tennis magazine, which has tennis great Chris Evert as the publisher and Pete Sampras as an investor.

Tennis magazine has been a sponsor of the Pacific Life Open the past three years.

Earlier this year, Mackin and Miller formed The Tennis Company.

"The vision of The Tennis Company is to make investments in tennis businesses that we felt we could add value to through our media assets," Mackin said.

Mackin also owns Custom Marketing Group, a custom marketing and publishing company serving tourism and travel.

Miller is an owner and CEO of Miller Publishing, which owns Vibe and Spin magazines.

"They bring expertise in media marketing and they own the largest tennis magazine in the world. That's a great partner to have," Moore said. "This still is a PM Sports management buyout.

"We're busy handling the parts. We hope finality comes sooner than later, and it will be a good result for the valley. That's what we're looking for."
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post #2 of 139 (permalink) Old 08-01-2005, 02:12 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Will Indian Wells be sold to China??

George Mackin
Titles: Managing director of Custom Marketing Group, an integrated destination marketing company specializing in travel and tourism. Also a partner in “Tennis” magazine and president of The Tennis Company.
Other career notables: Served as West Coast Manager of Newsweek International from 1979-84. IN 1984, he founded Mackin Media, Inc., which grew to become the largest independently owned advertising sales representation firm in the U.S., with over $150 million in sales annually.
Tennis ties: In 2000, invested in Tennis Magazine. In addition to owning Tennis Magazine and Tennis.come, they produced SMASH Magazine, a youth tennis publication.
Robert L. Miller

TITLES: President and CEO of Miller Publishing Group, LLC (MPG), which owns publications such as Vibe and Spin, as well as Tennis magazine. Also the CEO of The Tennis Company.
OTHER CAREER NOTABLES: At 33, was the publisher of Sports Illustrated. Was also the executive vice president of Time, Inc., which oversaw People, Entertainment Weekly, Fortune, Time, Sports Illustrated, and Money.
In 1992, became the president and CEO of Time Inc. Ventures (TIV). During that time, his most successful launches were Martha Stewart Living and Vibe. In 1996, upon leaving Time, he purchased Vibe, and in partnership with Quincy Jones, created Vibe Ventures. In 1997, they bought Spin.
A look at the Pacific Life Open's efforts to keep the international tennis tournament in Indian Wells and the issues involved.

THE OFFER: An overseas investment group, believed to be from Shanghai, has made an offer to buy the tournament for $35-$70 million.
THE CONFLICT: International Management Group, which owns 50 percent of the Pacific Life Open, wants to take the deal because the tournament has been losing money since 2002.
PM Sports, which owns the other 50 percent, is determined to keep the event in Indian Wells, where owners Raymond Moore and Charlie Pasarell call the Coachella Valley home.Moore and Pasarell are trying to connect an investors syndicate with the city of Indian Wells to help them finance debt and keep the 5th largest tournament in the world in the desert.
THE REFINANCE PLAN: The Indian Wells Tennis Garden, a $77-million complex which houses the Pacific Life Open, has a $39 million mortgage with an interest rate at 8 percent. The tournament has to pay debt services of $3.9 million annually. The tournament wants to refinance and get an interest rate of 6 percent or lower, and needs help from the City of Indian Wells to help secure the loan.
THE TOURNAMENT: The Pacific Life Open is considered the fifth-largest tournament in the world, based on its attendance, with more than 280,000 fans during the 12-day run. It has a 96-player men's and women's main draw. Total prize money for the men was $2,974,600, and for the women, $2,100,000.
THE IMPACT: In 2001, the tournament had an economic impact study conducted by George Washington University, which said the tournament had a $100 million impact on the Coachella Valley. Tournament officials have taken the same formula and applied it to the growing attendance, estimating the impact is now at $140 million.
GENESIS OF THE PROBLEM: In 2000, the ATP signed a $1.2 billion deal with Swiss marketing firm ISL, which was going to handle the marketing of the tour's top level events, including Indian Wells. The Indian Wells Tennis Garden opened that same year. The deal guaranteed the tournament approximately $10 million a year. After the 2001 event, ISL went bankrupt, leaving Indian Wells with no sponsors. Three months after the settlement, the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks hit, which made it nearly impossible for the tournament to find sponsors. The tournament secured Pacific Life insurance company as the title sponsor, but have not been able to secure the kind of funding the ISL deal promised.
CHANGES AT IMG: Mark McCormack was the founder and owner of International Management Group, an international sports and lifestyle marketing and management firm. McCormack was a fan of tennis, and was willing to support the Indian Wells tournament, believing in its future. When McCormack died in 2003. In 2004, McCormack's family sold IMG to Ted Forstmann, who founded Forstmann, Little and Co. Forstmann is considered a pioneer of the leverage buyout, and his business philosophies differ from McCormack's.
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post #3 of 139 (permalink) Old 08-01-2005, 11:18 PM
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Re: Will Indian Wells be sold to China??

the missing piece to this story: the impact of the Sisters' boycott.

Q. When you've played as few matches as you have over the last two, three months, did you ever lack motivation to go out and practice?

ANDY RODDICK: Motivation? No. I enjoy what I do. I enjoy what I do. You know, I've never been one to, you know, blow off practice or, you know, do anything like that.

You know, I'd be lying if I said I'm looking forward to practicing the next two days as opposed to playing here. That part is gonna suck...(2010 Aegon Championships)
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post #4 of 139 (permalink) Old 08-01-2005, 11:37 PM
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Re: Will Indian Wells be sold to China??

That would be kind of cool to have a really big tournament in China... Then Venus & Serena might play there
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post #5 of 139 (permalink) Old 08-02-2005, 12:01 AM
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Re: Will Indian Wells be sold to China??

^ that didn't take long... the sisters blah-blah-blah
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post #6 of 139 (permalink) Old 08-02-2005, 12:11 AM
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Re: Will Indian Wells be sold to China??

I hope that it doesn't go to China.

For the player's sake as well as the fact that I want it to stay in the US.

I know that there's a lot of money in Asia, and a lot of new fans.

But the fact remains that the vast majority of players are from Europe, North America and South America.

Schedules rough enough as it is without the guys having to fly to Asia all the time.
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post #7 of 139 (permalink) Old 08-02-2005, 01:32 AM
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Re: Will Indian Wells be sold to China??

Asia deserves a TMS event but I really wish it's not Indian Wells, one of the nicest venues and one of my favorite tournaments during the entire year. Sell Miami, please.

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post #8 of 139 (permalink) Old 08-02-2005, 05:08 AM
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Re: Will Indian Wells be sold to China??

There is no way players would go to China for one event then travel to Miami the next week. I just don't see it happening. Shame they got into such a bad deal. Attendance is way up and they are still in a huge hole. My ninja has made IW his home.
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post #9 of 139 (permalink) Old 08-02-2005, 05:55 AM
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Re: Will Indian Wells be sold to China??

It's true, I read it in Time the other day... Indian Wells is set to become a Chinese Territory, sort of like a new Hong Kong, except that this one will be leased to the Americans.
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post #10 of 139 (permalink) Old 08-02-2005, 07:47 AM
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Re: Will Indian Wells be sold to China??

I have read about this in some of my local newspapers as well... for my own selfish reasons, I hope IW stays.
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post #11 of 139 (permalink) Old 08-02-2005, 08:26 AM
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Re: Will Indian Wells be sold to China??

I heard sth about it at early of this year. It said Shanghai would like to buy IW, and wants to keep having some big tourney after 3 years' TMC. But it's only a small piece of news, no more follow-up, so I took it as a rumor at that time. For selfish reasons, I hope IW moves. Of course, if it really does, then ATP had to change the tourney schedule a lot, as it's impossible for players to play two TMS in line at 2 different continents too far away from each other.
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post #12 of 139 (permalink) Old 08-02-2005, 08:31 AM
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Re: Will Indian Wells be sold to China??

The thing is that IW and Miami are nothing TMS events, well not nothing as in points or money or even prestige. They don't lead to anything at all and are there for some reason just to give the Americans some more big tournaments.

Ok, the 3 TMS on clay lead to RG, Montreal/Toronto lead to the US Open and Madrid/Paris lead to the TMC, they are leading in to these major events.

They have to do something about the calendar anyway and what's the point of 10 day events? A 64 draw is enough and they are dreaming about a pseudo Slam.

One of the TMS should be moved to lead into the Aus Open, but that would mean a calendar restructurion, though it needs to happen anyway.

On Nadal bumping him on the changeover, Rosol said: "It's ok, he wanted to take my concentration; I knew he would try something".

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I definitely would have preferred Gaba winning as he needs the points much more, but Jan would have beaten him anyway. I expect Hajek to destroy Machado, like 6-1 6-2.
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post #13 of 139 (permalink) Old 08-02-2005, 10:58 AM
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Re: Will Indian Wells be sold to China??

lol the have already the TMC

Rafa AlmagroGuilleGaudioCalleriMoyaCHELALuczak

All youngsters

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Roger Federer, what an arrogant asshole.
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post #14 of 139 (permalink) Old 08-02-2005, 11:03 AM
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Re: Will Indian Wells be sold to China??

Guys, listen to me. China IS getting a TMS event period, end of story. Most likely IW. And it doesn't end there. China is working things out to host a slam. Yes a real one, that means number 5, but you didn't hear that from me. Anway that's a few years off.

No jokes this time.
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post #15 of 139 (permalink) Old 08-02-2005, 11:06 AM
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Re: Will Indian Wells be sold to China??

They plan on taking over the world also.

Now GWH can hate two countries.

Joke this time.
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