The IMG agency is close to agreeing a 10-year, $1bn (€884m) deal for betting streaming and data rights to the ATP World Tour, SportBusiness Media understands. It will be the biggest tennis media-rights deal in history and will provide a massive financial boost to the sport.
The deal covers the ATP World Masters 1000 series, the World Tour 500 series and some of the 250 series events.
The deal, which is in the final stages of negotiation, is between IMG and ATP Media, the tour’s commercial arm.
However, the way in which the process was handled could rebound on ATP Media.
SportBusiness Media understands that the rights were not put out to the market in a transparent tender process. No other party was invited to make a counter-offer in private negotiations.
Informed tennis sources say that other players in the betting streaming and data market are likely to be furious at being locked out of the process.
The market for betting streaming rights is currently dominated by IMG, Perform Content and Sportradar and is extremely competitive. The market for sports data also includes Genius Sports.
One of the rival companies is said to be preparing an official complaint to the ATP and considering raising the matter with competition authorities.
Although the deal represents a big increase in value for the ATP, the lack of a process allowing rival bids means the ATP has no way of knowing whether it has secured the best possible deal for its rights.
IMG and the ATP both declined to comment today.