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Old 03-01-2006, 09:20 PM   #1
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Default Pete's Newest Venture.

Tennis greats team to save local tourney





Leighton Ginn
The Desert Sun
March 1, 2006



INDIAN WELLS - Just days before the opening of this year's tournament, a powerful tennis consortium including star players Pete Sampras, Chris Evert and Billie Jean King has bought out the Pacific Life Open ownership partners International Management Group, nearly completing the deal that keeps the international tennis tournament in Indian Wells.

Helping their cause was United States Tennis Association president Franklin Johnson, who expressed interest in having his organization invest in the tournament.

"I think it's a major success story, especially when you think of the downside. Securing it is good news and I'm thrilled," Johnson said. "It was amazingly difficult, much more than I imagined. There were some down times and I worried about it going first to Shanghai and then to Doha, but we had good people working hard to get the right result."

The consortium confirmed the deal, first reported on thedesertsun.com, in a meeting Tuesday with The Desert Sun. The official announcement is scheduled for this morning.

IMG had fielded multimillion-dollar offers to sell the tournament to the cities in China and Qatar. Tourism and city officials across the Coachella Valley, in addition to international tennis tour leaders, voiced strong support for keeping the tournament in the valley and in the United States.

Held in the world's second-largest tennis stadium, the Pacific Life Open is the world's fifth-largest in term of attendance. It draws more than 280,000 people to the Coachella Valley over 12 days, and generates an estimated $140 million economic impact as fans flock to see the top stars in men's and women's tennis.

Deposit down, vote to go

Raymond Moore, the president of PM Sports which owns 50 percent of the tournament and runs the event, said the investment group - which also includes the USTA and was headed by the Tennis Magazine owners - has made a non-refundable deposit to IMG to essentially close out the buyout.
"We've paid IMG a non-refundable deposit. The deal is off the table," Moore said. "It's our deal now. It's contractually committed to us. It is for us to just complete some paperwork and get the final vote by the (city of Indian Wells) on Thursday, the processing of the bank loan documents on Friday. The deal will be done early next week, 100 percent."

Buying out IMG was the first in a complicated chain of events needed to secure the future of the international tennis tournament in the Coachella Valley.


The Indian Wells City Council will vote on Thursday to vote on a land deal, which Moore, his partner Charles Pasarell and Mayor Ed Monarch feel will be approved.
Indian Wells agreed to purchase a 27-acre piece of land from PM Sports for $15 million, on the condition the tournament first buys out IMG.

"If it's what we expect, it will be signed Thursday," Monarch said in a telephone interview Tuesday. "I think the thing that has fascinated me was the steadfastness of Charlie Pasarell and Raymond Moore. They announced from beginning to stay in the desert. Money alone wouldn't sway them. The provided the motivation because we knew how serious they were about this."

The money from the purchase will be used to pay down the $39 million mortgage on the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, the 85-acre complex that houses the tournament. The Pacific Life Open will also refinance its mortgage, thanks to Indian Wells bank Desert Commercial Bank.

Because of the debt service on the mortgage, the tournament has been operating in the red since 2001.

Although Moore and Pasarell could not comment on the buyout price due to a confidentially agreement, some reports had the buyout at $55 million.

Moore recruited George Mackin and Bob Miller, the owners of Tennis Magazine, to help secure a group of investors to buyout IMG.

Buying out IMG will start a chain reaction that will help close out one of the most complicated deals in tennis and secure the future the world's fifth largest tennis tournament, which has an estimated $140 million economic impact on the Coachella Valley.

In a meeting with The Desert Sun on Tuesday, tournament officials revealed only the famed three of the 21 investors who helped buyout IMG.

The others, working Calim Private Equity LLC of Aspen, want to remain silent partners, though Moore said that many were local residents.

With the United States Tennis Association, Tennis Magazine, and the likes of legends like Sampras, King and Evert, the Pacific Life Open has an impressive group of investors.

"What I think what we've assembled here is the most powerful strategic tennis partnership in the game today," Moore said. "We have not only Tennis Magazine, the world's largest tennis magazine, but the USTA and three tennis legends, Chris Evert, Pete Sampras and Billie Jean King, all having invested in the concept of keeping this event here for the next 20 years.

"We think it will be here the next 100, but we'll focus on the next 20 for the time being."

"I've never seen an all-star lineup like this behind an event," said Larry Scott, the CEO and president of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour in a telephone interview from Florida. "It's a testament to the tournament that so many leaders and legends believe in Charlie and Ray's vision.

Pasarell is a local resident and a former ATP tour player who helped form the current tour and serves on its board. During his career, he set a record for the longest match ever played at Wimbledon.

"I think it's a very positive indicator for the event to have so many important entities and individuals involved," Scott said.

Sampras, who on Tuesday announced that he would being playing in World Team Tennis events after three years in retirement, has a home in Palm Desert. But it was his business relationship with Mackin and Tennis Magazine that got him involved.

"(The tournament) was one of my more favorite stops and I know a lot of players love playing in the desert and it's good to see it's staying in the desert," Sampras said. "Obviously playing the event for 14 or 15 years, I love the two weeks I would spend there. I have a home close to there and I can have a presence at the event now that I'm a very small piece to a big puzzle."

Securing the tournament's future in the Coachella Valley was a months-long process. The city of Indian Wells approved its deals, provided conditions were met, in August.

In October, the USTA agreed to become part of the investment group.

However, the deal couldn't close until Tuesday, leaving several tense moments over the last five months.

"We were skating on thin ice a number of times. Almost every single deadline that was issued was missed," Moore said. "I want to give credit to IMG. (Owner) Ted Forstmann did have the patience to allow us the time to raise the money. He could have, at any single time, pull the plug and he didn't We're grateful. And in addition to that, three key people at IMG, Bob Kain, Gavin Forbes and Stephanie Tolleson."

IMG is one of the nation's largest sports and events marketing firms. Forstmann's bid for RJR Nabisco is famed in the business world.

Let the games begin

With the tournament to start on Monday with women's qualifying, Pasarell said he can relax a little bit.
"We've had a pretty damn difficult time since last year's tournament until now with anxieties," said Pasarell, who took over the tournament in 1981 and set it on its path of tremendous growth to become the fifth most attended tennis tournament in the world. "There were many restless nights. I know I had them and I'm sure Raymond had many more because he was dealing with it on a day-to-day basis. We're very relaxed now and we're going to have a very good tournament this year."

As for the women's tour, they are happy one of their largest tournaments is staying put.

"We're very pleased and it's a great day for professional tennis and tennis in the desert," Scott said. "I also want to go on and say the greatest days of the tournament are ahead of it."

Last edited by angiel : 03-01-2006 at 09:41 PM. Reason: changes
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Old 03-01-2006, 09:46 PM   #2
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Default Re: Pete's Newest Venture.

Tennis

Struggling Tennis Event to Keep Spot in the Sun
Investor group that includes former players rescues Indian Wells tournament from a move overseas.

By Bill Dwyre, Times Staff Writer
March 1, 2006



The prestigious Indian Wells tennis event, struggling financially the last few years and on the verge of being purchased and moved out of the country, is alive and well and expecting a long stay in the desert, tournament officials said Tuesday.

Charlie Pasarell and Raymond Moore, tournament directors, will announce today that their Pacific Life Open, which opens next Wednesday, is within days of completing a complicated financial package that will avoid what had become a real threat as recently as several months ago. That threat was the sale and move of the tournament to Doha, Qatar.


"At first, the main bidder was Shanghai," said Moore, "but more recently, it was closer to going to Doha."

Pasarell and Moore said that, coming to the rescue, was a group of investors that includes former tennis stars Pete Sampras, Chris Evert and Billie Jean King, as well as the United States Tennis Assn., the Tennis Magazine publishing group and the city of Indian Wells. They also have sold several plots of land, totaling 64 acres, next to the stadium that will become hotels, shops and restaurants in the next few years, and have acquired a more favorable interest rate loan from a new area bank, Desert Commercial. The main developer of that real estate will be Sanderson J. Ray Corp. of Newport Beach, which expects to build, among other things, a nearby hotel named the Remington Las Montanas.

"Much of the money is in escrow," Moore said, "and we expect the final closing to take place Friday."

That closing would allow the new group to take over the 50% currently owned by IMG, which wanted out of the deal and was willing to sell to Shanghai or Doha to achieve that.

The issue was a large loan-service debt, stemming from the construction of the state-of-the-art Indian Wells Garden Stadium, which was opened in 2000 with 16,000 seats, at a price tag of $77 million.

The tournament had grown in the last 30 years from small stadiums at Mission Hills and La Quinta resorts to a fancier one at the Hyatt Grand Champions, to Pasarell's Palace, which last year attracted the second largest tennis audience in the country after the U.S. Open with its 283,653 paying customers.

But it had been built under the presumption that a 10-year marketing contract with European firm ISL would contribute $11 million annually to the event's bottom line. When ISL went out of business after 2 1/2 years, that left Pasarell and Moore's PM Sports Management Co., and partner IMG, with $27.5 million instead of a projected $110 million.

Pasarell and Moore, both former pro tennis stars, wanted to go on, and did so with smoke and mirrors and a bank loan at 8% on the more than $40 million still left to pay off. Eventually, they were generating as much as $3 million annually on tournament operations, and still finding themselves as much as $2 million further behind because of the debt service. IMG's commitment was through this year's tournament only, so the dilemma for PM was to find new partners or sell to foreign interests and ponder the wrecking ball.

The city of Indian Wells bought one 27-acre parcel of land, projected for new housing, and also entered into an agreement to lease another parcel to PM at $1 a year so that there will be sufficient event parking even after Sanderson J. Ray begins to build on current parking areas.

Then Bob Miller and George Mackin, main investors in the Bob Miller Publishing Group that not only publishes Tennis Magazine, but also Spin and Vibe magazines, got Sampras, Evert and King involved, as well as several other local investors.

"I'm a small little piece of the puzzle," said Sampras, who has won at Indian Wells twice. "I just believed it would be a shame to lose this tournament. It is right there behind the U.S. Open as the best tennis event in the country. To have it leave the country would have been a big blow. It's a great spot for tennis. I felt that way as a player, and most of the players I know still feel that way."

While the specific size of investments from various parties was kept private by Pasarell and Moore, the USTA's initial involvement was believed to be between $3 and $5 million, with an option to step up to a higher level.

USTA President Franklin Johnson of Los Angeles, among the first to publicly advocate that his group pitch in to keep the event in the United States, said, "I am absolutely elated. This was a complicated deal, and in the end, everybody pulled together. To lose this one would have been very bad for tennis in this country."

Moore said that, after all the various parts of the deal are signed and funded, the event will have gone from servicing a $40-million debt at 8% to a $16-million debt at 7%. The prize money is $5.2 million, third among U.S. events behind the U.S. Open and the NASDAQ tournament in Miami, held the last two weeks in March. Traditionally, the title sponsor, in this case Pacific Life, handles much of the purse expense.

Pasarell said that they are projecting a $2-million profit on operations this year, thanks to increased sponsorship, ticket sales and TV revenue, and added that the group's partnership with the city of Indian Wells includes a clause that commits them to this event in the desert for the next 20 years.

"I'm relieved," he said. "This year is going to be a much more enjoyable event for all of us."
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Old 03-01-2006, 09:48 PM   #3
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Default Re: Pete's Newest Venture.

Tennis


Deal keeps Indian Wells in United States
Mar 1, 2006, 20:15 GMT


INDIAN WELLS, CA, United States (UPI) -- The U.S. Tennis Association, a magazine and tennis greats joined to keep a prestigious but money-troubled tournament in Indian Wells, Calif., a report said.

Directors of the Pacific Life Open are poised to announce a financial package to keep the tournament from moving to Qatar or Shanghai, The Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.

The USTA is contributing an estimated $3 million to $5 million to the effort that includes the publisher of Tennis Magazine, the City of Indian Wells and tennis stars Pete Sampras, Chris Evert and Billie Jean King.

'I just believed it would be a shame to lose this tournament,' Sampras said. 'To have it leave the country would have been a big blow.'

The Pacific Open is No. 2 in U.S. attendance and No. 3, behind the U.S. Open and Nasdaq tournament in Miami, with $5.2 million in prize money.

The deal will allow 50-percent stakeholder IMG to withdraw from the venture, which ran into problems following construction of a $77 million stadium in 2000.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International
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Old 03-01-2006, 09:52 PM   #4
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Default Re: Pete's Newest Venture.

PACIFIC LIFE OPEN ANNOUNCES NEW PARTNERSHIP

New Partners Include United States Tennis Association, Pete Sampras, Chris Evert And Billie Jean King


Indian Wells, Calif., February 28, 2006 – The Pacific Life Open, held annually at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, has signed a deal that will keep the most-attended non-Grand Slam tennis tournament in the world in Indian Wells, California, it was announced today by PM Sports Management owners Charlie Pasarell and Raymond Moore.

Pasarell and Moore, with the help of new partners George Mackin and Bob Miller of Tennis Magazine and Patrick W.M. Imeson of Calim Private Equity, LLC, have brought together an investment group, which includes the United States Tennis Association (USTA) and tennis legends Pete Sampras, Chris Evert and Billie Jean King, that will complete the buyout of International Management Group’s (IMG) 50% interest in the two-week ATP and Sony Ericsson WTA Tour event.

“We have assembled one of the most powerful strategic tennis partnerships possible, and this will ensure that the event stays here for many years to come," said Moore. "We look forward to working with them to improve and enhance this already terrific tournament.”

Playing a vital role in the deal were two local entities; the City of Indian Wells and Desert Commercial Bank. The City of Indian Wells’ unwavering commitment to keep the event in the Coachella Valley was evidenced by their purchase of 27 acres of land adjacent to the Indian Wells Tennis Garden for $15 million from PM Sports Management. The money from the sale will be used to refinance the remaining debt on the stadium, which is being facilitated by Desert Commercial Bank.

"I want to commend the City of Indian Wells for having the foresight to step up at the very beginning to offer their support in keeping this great event here," stated Pasarell. "This is a tremendous day for the Pacific Life Open and the residents of the Coachella Valley."

The tournament, now in its 31st year, has grown from its humble beginnings in 1976 when it was held in the Coachella Valley. This year’s tournament, to be held March 6-19, will feature 250 of the top-ranked men’s and women’s players in the world, including Roger Federer, Andre Agassi, Lindsay Davenport and Maria Sharapova, who will compete for a $5.2 million purse.

“I have fond memories of being involved in the event as a player, and now to be involved as an owner should be equally rewarding,” said Sampras. “Our investment group believes that even though this event is already the most attended event outside of the Grand Slams it has the potential to reach even greater heights, and there is not a better place for that to happen than at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.”

The Indian Wells Tennis Garden, which opened in March of 2000, has at its centerpiece the 16,100-seat main stadium, the second-largest tennis stadium in the world. The 85-acre complex features two outside stadium courts, 11 sunken championship courts, 44 stadium suites and state of the art broadcast and media facilities.

"As Publisher and Partner in Tennis Magazine, I was proud that George and Bob took the initiative to team up with Raymond and Charlie to keep this important event in the United States,” said Chris Evert. “I was also delighted personally to be invited to invest in this event and trust with our collective names and assets we will make this marquee event even more successful."

"As a native of Southern California, it is very important for me personally to do all I can do to grow tennis in this region and keeping the Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells and committing to making it better each year will go a long way to introducing this great sport to new fans of all ages,” said Billie Jean King. “It is going to be so much fun for Pete, Chris and I to join with George Mackin, The Miller Group and the other investors on this project because we all share the same vision and commitment to grow tennis across the country."

"The USTA is proud to play a key role in keeping the Pacific Life Open at Indian Wells in the U.S.," said Franklin Johnson, USTA President and Chairman of the Board. "This event is an important part of the USTA's overall strategy to increase the sport's visibility and strengthen tennis in our country. We especially want to congratulate our new partners including George Mackin, Charlie Pasarell and Ray Moore whose efforts kept this tournament in the United States."

“Today’s announcement is fantastic news for professional tennis,” said Larry Scott, CEO of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. “The Pacific Life Open is unquestionably one of the very best tournaments in world, and we are thrilled that the close to 300,000 fans who annually attend the Pacific Life Open, the millions who watch the event annually on television across the globe, the players and other stakeholders will continue to enjoy the event in Indian Wells as it grows to even greater heights and success.”

"We are naturally delighted the Pacific Life Open will retain Indian Wells as its home, but we’re even more excited by the newfound commitment provided by the USTA, Tennis Magazine and other important partners to grow this showcase pro tennis event,” said ATP Executive Chairman and President Etienne de Villiers. “We and other stakeholders are focused on improvements to the season and structure of professional tennis and it’s great to know that we now can count on the Pacific Life Open to be an integral part of the future of this sport.”
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Old 03-01-2006, 11:40 PM   #5
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Default Re: Pete's Newest Venture.

The Times

March 02, 2006


Sampras investing in future
By Neil Harman, Tennis Correspondent



A YEAR ago, Pete Sampras was playing golf ten minutes away from the Indian Wells Tennis Garden site in California and did not have the inclination to watch the goings-on at one of the world’s finest tournaments. Yesterday, the seven-times Wimbledon champion joined an investment group that secured the event’s future.

Sampras, Chris Evert and Billie Jean King are involved in the £40 million buyout of IMG’s half-stake in the championship. PM Sports, owned by Charlie Pasarell and Ray Moore, the tournament directors, has the other half-share and was determined to keep the event at Indian Wells, under pressure from tournaments in Doha and Shanghai, which both made takeover offers.



“I have fond memories of being involved as a player and now, as an owner, it should be equally rewarding,” Sampras, who on Tuesday announced his return to competitive sport with World Team Tennis in the United States, said. The tournament has grown from humble beginnings in 1976 to a top-flight event — the Pacific Life Open — the first Masters Series stop on the men’s tour and a leading event on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour.

Indian Wells is a championship of enormous strategic importance and a huge boon to the local economy, to the tune of an estimated £80 million. And Andy Murray will be there for the first time. Murray, in his first outing as British No 1, lost 6-2, 6-2 to Tommy Robredo, of Spain, in the first round of the Tennis Channel Open in Las Vegas on Tuesday night.
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Old 03-02-2006, 12:26 PM   #6
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Default Re: Pete's Newest Venture.

great news
I always knew Sampras would be linked with a tennis invesment project'
I know he is part owner of the tennis channel as well
& maybe the Tennis magazines as well (not a big fan of it thou) too much ads & not as many articles
I have yet to see deuce magazine. I dont have it in my country
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Old 03-02-2006, 08:03 PM   #7
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Default Re: Pete's Newest Venture.

Quote:
Originally Posted by almouchie
great news
I always knew Sampras would be linked with a tennis invesment project'
I know he is part owner of the tennis channel as well
& maybe the Tennis magazines as well (not a big fan of it thou) too much ads & not as many articles
I have yet to see deuce magazine. I dont have it in my country

I have never seen deuce magazine either, that is an ATP magazine, and yes he is part of tennis Magazine also.
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Old 03-02-2006, 09:01 PM   #8
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Default Re: Pete's Newest Venture.

Notes on a draw sheet
Pacific Life Open to stay in California desert
Sampras, Evert, BJ King join investment group


By Matthew Cronin, TennisReporters.net






After nearly a year of angst and serious hand wringing, the Pacific Life Open at Indian Wells has signed a deal with IMG that will keep the US' largest non-Grand Slam in the California desert. PM Sports Management owners Charlie Pasarell and Raymond Moore along with new partners George Mackin and Bob Miller of Tennis magazine and Patrick Imeson of Calim Private Equity brought together an investment group which also includes the USTA, Pete Sampras, Chris Evert and Billie Jean King.

The group will buy out of IMG's 50% interest, for a reported $55 million and keep the tournament from moving to Shanghai or Doha, both which bid on the event, "We have assembled one of the most powerful strategic tennis partnerships possible, and this will ensure that the event stays here for many years to come," said Moore.

It's unknown how much actual cash the three playing legends put in, but it appears that Sampras – who has been very quiet since he retired three years ago – is finally digging his way back into the sport. The LA resident also just announced he will be playing World TeamTennis this summer.

"I have fond memories of being involved in the event as a player, and now to be involved as an owner should be equally rewarding," said Sampras. "Our investment group believes that even though this event is already the most attended event outside of the Grand Slams it has the potential to reach even greater heights, and there is not a better place for that to happen than at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden."

Without the financial might and leadership capabilities of the USTA, the deal would have never have gone down. Substantial credit must go to another LA resident, USTA president Franklin Johnson, who pushed through a big investment on the part of America's leading tennis body. Without the USTA's involvement, the Tennis magazine group said they would have bailed on the project.

"The USTA is proud to play a key role in keeping the Pacific Life Open at Indian Wells in the U.S.," said Johnson. "This event is an important part of the USTA's overall strategy to increase the sport's visibility and strengthen tennis in our country."

The city of Indian Wells also stepped up in a big way. The city purchased 27 acres of land adjacent to the Indian Wells Tennis Garden for $15 million from PM Sports, which will be used to refinance the remaining debt on the stadium.

For more extensive coverage, go to the Desert Sun's web site and read Leighton Ginn's account. He quotes Johnson as saying closing the deal was "amazingly difficult" and for the first time, some members of IMG – which was publicly shopping the event – were given credit for not turning a blind eye to the needs of US tennis.

"We were skating on thin ice a number of times. Almost every single deadline that was issued was missed," Moore told Ginn. "I want to give credit to IMG. (Owner) Ted Forstmann did have the patience to allow us the time to raise the money. He could have, at any single time, pulled the plug and he didn't. We're grateful. And, in addition to that, three key people at IMG: Bob Kain, Gavin Forbes and Stephanie Tolleson."
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